What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialist branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of dental and facial irregularities occurring as a result of:

  • a bad bite or malocclusion;
  • missing or extra teeth;
  • misaligned teeth;
  • crooked teeth;
  • crowed teeth;
  • an overbite;
  • an underbite;
  • misaligned or incorrect jaw position;
  • a disorder of the jaw joint.


Orthodontic irregularities

Orthodontic irregularities are generally treated with as braces. Braces are usually made from wires and springs attached to tiny metal plates or a plastic mould. Braces apply gentle forces to teeth and encourage them to to move slowly to adopt a different alignment. The best orthodontic results are achieved with children when their teeth are still growing; many adults have orthodontic treatment, but the process takes much longer.

The orthodontist will assess the teeth that need to be aligned and create either a fixed or removable brace, which can be adjusted during the course of the treatment to achieve the desired effect. The fixed braces, as their name implies, are permanent fixtures and are removed at the end of the treatment period, whereas removable braces can be taken off for eating and cleaning but are generally worn at all other times. Braces will improve the function of the teeth and the general appearance of the person.