Orthodontics - An Overview
Orthodontics is a special discipline of dentistry concerned with aligning the teeth and jaws to improve one's smile and overall oral health. "Ortho" means correct or straight, and "odont" means tooth. A dentist will recommend braces to improve the patient's physical appearance and function of the teeth and jaws, if the teeth are crooked and misaligned, or the jaws are of unequal size. This condition is referred to as malocclusion, which comes from a Latin word meaning 'bad bite'.
While the majority of orthodontic cases involve braces, there are alternatives that may be used for younger children or adults. Arch expanders for younger children can minimize or eliminate the need for braces when the problem is treated early enough.
Myo-functional Appliances utilize muscle forces to redirect and guide normal growth and development thereby minimizing jaw discrepancies; if treated during growth period.Invisible, clear plastic retainers, instead of braces, can be used by adults for mild to moderate crowding problems.