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What is Orthodontics ?  
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that is officially known as Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. The purpose of orthodontics is to treat any type of malocclusion, which is simply another way of saying "bad bite".

When you have a maloclusion, that means your teeth, lips and/or jaws don't line up the way they should. As a result, your teeth may be crooked, your bite may not work correctly and your jaws may look unbalanced.

To fix bad bites, orthodontists - dentists who are specially trained - use braces and other corrective procedures, including materials often called "appliances," to achieve tooth and jaw alignment. This correction of the teeth and their supportive structures makes for a healthy, attractive smile.  
 What causes orthodontic problems?  
 Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems.

Other malocclusions are acquired. In other words, they develop over time. They can be caused by thumb or finger sucking, mouth breathing, dental, disease, abnormal swallowing, poor nutrituion, or some medical problems.

Sometimes, an inherited malocclusion is complicated by an acquired problem. But, whatever the cause, an orthodontist is usually able to treat most conditions successfully.  
 Why is Orthodontics important ?  
 Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. Such problems can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and / or speaking, excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue, and possible jaw joint problems.

Then there's the emotional side of an unattractive smile. When you're not confident in the way you look, your self-esteem suffers. Children and adults whose malocclusions are left untreated may go through life feeling self- conscious, hiding their smiles with tight lips or a protective hand.

Finally, without treatment, many problems become worse. Orthodontic treatment to correct a problem may prove less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious probems that can develop in later years.  
 Why should all kids get an orthodontic check up no later than age 7 ?  
 When most people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers. And the fact is, most orthodontic treatment begins between the ages of 9 and 14, however, by age 7, most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That's important, because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they're found early.
For these reasons, the american association of orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check up no later than age 7. While your child's teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. Of course, the check up may reveal that your child's bite is fine, and that can be comforting news.  
 What does treatment involve?  
 First and foremost, orthodontic treatment involves the patient. To achieve the desired results, the patient must diligently follow the orthodontist's instructions about wearing orthodontic appliances and practice good dental hygiene. With braces, certain foods, like peanut brittle, caramels and bubble gum are off limits as its chewing ice.

The orthodontist provides custom made braces, retainers or other corrective appliances, according to the problem being treated. Whether they're removable or "fixed " into the mouth, whether they're made of metal, ceramic or plastic, all orthodontic appliances have a common purpose to use gentle pressure to move teeth and jaws into their proper positions. Today's patients benefits from techniques and materials that enhance the comfot of orthodontic treatment.  
 How long does treatment take?  
 Although every case is different, generally speaking, patients wear braces from one to three years. Treatment times vary with factors that include the severity of the problem being corrected and how well the patient follows the orthodontist's instructions.

Patients who brush and floss thoroughly and regularly; avoid hard and sticky foods; wear their rubber bands and/or headgear as instructed; and keep their appointments usually finish treatment on-time with good results.

After the braces are removed, most patients wear a retainer for some time to keep or"retain" the teeth in their new positions. The orthodontist will determine how long the retainer needs to be worn. Most patients remain under the orthodontist's supervision during the retention phase to ensure that the teeth stay properly aligned.  
 Will braces hurt ?  
 Most orthodontic patients experience some disconfort the first few days after their braces are put on, and right after the braces are tightened. After one week they usually get used to them. You can use common pain reliever to ease the discomfort.  
 At what age should orthodontic treatment occur? 
 Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age, however, 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.  
 Are there any risks ?  
 Most risks relate to the health of your gums and bones before treatment and your oral hygiene during treatment. Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for successfuly orthodontic treatment.  
 Are extractions of teeth necessary for orthodontic treatment ?  
 In patients with severe crowing or protrusion of teeth, extractions of permanent teeth may be required to achieve better results. The number and location of teeth depends on the type of malocclusion. It is not uncommon for patients to remove as many as four teeth for treatment. At the end of treatment, all spaces will be closed.  
 How long is the treatment time? 
  In general, active treatment time with braces ranges from one and half to two years. The actual time depends alot on the cooperation of the patient and the severity of the problem. Keeping to appointments, taking good care of the braces and using rubber bands or bite plates, if prescribed, all contribute to completing treatment early.  
 Why are my teeth crooked, crowded or protruded?  
 There are many possible reasons and followin

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