About Orthodontics
Orthodontics is the dental specialty which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of malocclusions (improper bites), which may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both.
The most commonly used Orthodontic appliances are stainless steel "braces" which are glued on to the surfaces of teeth, with a wire going across these braces, connecting them.

If you have irregular or spaced teeth, you would probably benefit from Orthodontic treatment.

Why choose an Orthodontist over a general dentist for Orthodontic treatment?
General dentists can straighten teeth, especially simple problems. However, Orthodontists can recognize the difference between a simple case and a complex one. And when a case is challenging, Orthodontists know what to do because they have been trained to treat difficult cases too.

Every Orthodontist has gone through at least 2 years of specialized training after the BDS degree and is a specialist at straightening teeth and ensuring proper form and function. A dentist may see a handful of Orthodontic cases a year while providing other types of dental treatment like fillings and dentures. An Orthodontist concentrates on his/her specialty and treats more than a hundred Orthodontic patients every year.

Are all dental specialists the same?
If you want to choose an Orthodontist, make sure that the MDS or other post-graduate degree the doctor holds is in the specialty of Orthodontics. There are many other specialties in dentistry also, such as Periodontics (for gum diseases), Pedodontics (for children), Prosthodontics (for replacing missing teeth), Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (for surgery of the teeth and jaws), etc.
  What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
What is an Orthodontist?
An Orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education program following dental school, to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.
  What are some possible benefits of Orthodontics?
 A more attractive smile
Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
Better function of the teeth
Possible increase in self-confidence
Increased ability to clean the teeth
Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
Better long term health of teeth and gums
Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
Aid in optimizing other dental treatment
  What are some signs that braces may be needed?
 Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
 Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
 Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
 The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
 Crowded or overlapped teeth The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
 Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
 Difficulty chewing
 Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
 The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
 Spaces between the teeth
At what age should Orthodontic treatment occur?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many Orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an Orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child's physician.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited Orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
Would an adult patient benefit from Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty five percent of Orthodontic patients today are adults.
How does Orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

How long does Orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
  Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
  Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.
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