Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that diagnoses, prevents, and treats dental and facial irregularities called malocclusions. Orthodontics includes dentofacial orthopedics, which is used to correct problems involving the growth of the jaw.
Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay
and periodontal disease
, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain. Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also detract from one's appearance.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime. A specialist in this field is called an orthodontist
. Orthodontists receive two or more years of education beyond their years in Dental school in an approved orthodontic training program.