Orthodontics is a special branch of dentistry that focuses on the treatment of teeth and jaws that are misaligned.
The word comes from the Greek words orthos meaning straight or proper, and odont meaning tooth.
It is concerned with the treatment of malocclusions or improper bites. These may arise from tooth irregularity, problems with the jaw or both.
You may seek orthodontic treatment for cosmetic reasons or for health reasons.
Cosmetic reasons are usually due to feeling low self esteem due to the appearance of your mouth or smile.
However more serious heath problems can include difficulties chewing, which can lead to digestion problems.
Issues with the alignment of your teeth and jaws can also cause sleep and breathing problems such as snoring or sleep apnea.
In addition, some orthodontists work on reconstructing the entire face rather than focusing exclusively on teeth.
Orthodontic treatment will depend on the diagnosis of the orthodontist after taking x-rays and molds.
The treatment may include braces or other devices to realign teeth. In sever cases, surgery may be needed.
Some estimates say that more than half the US population has problems with misaligned teeth or jaws so orthodontics plays an important role.