WHAT IS THE SPECIALTY OF ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with developmental and positional abnormalities of the teeth and jaws.
WHAT AMOUNT OF TRAINING IS NEEDED TO BECOME AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dentist who has received several years of additional specialty training to earn a Certificate of Orthodontics and Dentalfacial Orthopedics.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON CAUSES OF MALOCCLUSIONS (MISALIGNED TEETH AND/OR BITE ABNORMALITIES)?
Abnormal positions and function of the teeth have many causes. Genetics, dental decay, destructive oral habits, and trauma are some of the more common reasons for the development of malocclusions.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BEGIN TREATMENT?
Orthodontic treatment is a combination of science and art that blend to create the necessary elements to address and correct an individual's malocclusion. Treatment can take many forms, because each malocclusion is unique. Some patients require early intervention, as early as 7 to 9 years of age. Others are best treated once the majority of the of the adult teeth have grown, 11 to 13 years old. And, there are some who benefit by waiting until adulthood.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON TREATMENT METHODS?
There are a great many different methods of treatment. The name generally given to devices that cause orthodontic changes to occur are appliances. There are fixed appliances (those adhered to the teeth), removable appliances (those that can be removed at will) and combinations of the two. Appliances that cause teeth to move are called active. Appliances that hold teeth in place are called passive. An example of an active appliance is braces and a passive appliance is a retainer.
In most every instance, following active treatment, an extended period of retention is required. Once moved, teeth have a natural tendency to move back to the position in which they first grew into the mouth. Without a commitment to retention (wearing retainers), active treatment is of little value.