Orthodontics is defined by the American Association of Orthodontics as, "the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve facial balance."
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Orthodontic treatment can be carried out for purely aesthetic reasons with regards to improving the general appearance of patients' teeth. However, orthodontists also work on reconstructing the entire jaw rather than focusing exclusively on teeth. Treatment is also often prescribed for practical reasons such as providing the patient with a functionally improved bite (occlusion)
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child should be seen by an orthodontist at the first signs of orthodontic problems but not later
than age of 7.
Usually Early Orthodontic Treatment is recommended when the child has:
- A functional shift (teeth and jaws come together in one way but the patient slides from that position habitually).
- A cross bite or under bite (lower teeth cross over upper teeth while biting).
- Moderate to severe crowding of teeth.
- Impaction of teeth (teeth positioned less than ideally so they won't erupt on their own).
- Extra or supernumery teeth.
- Flared out upper incisors.
- Developing skeletal jaw imbalance.
- Developmentally detrimental oral habits such as mouth breathing, tongue thrust, and thumb sucking habit.
At our specialty office, Rane's Dental Aesthetics, our Orthodontist is extremely skilled in using metal wires and brackets (braces) to align teeth for kids and adults or Invisalign the clear alternative to braces whichever is more appropriate for the patient.