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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontists treat children, teenagers, and adults whose teeth are crooked, or whose jaws are not correctly aligned. They often treat bite problems caused by the upper and lower teeth not ‘fitting together’ properly.

Orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth and correct a bite can take 18 months or more since the teeth need to be brought into correct alignment gradually.

The most common treatment, usually done in teenagers, is straightening or aligning of the teeth with metal braces or clear aligners. The person may have other appliances fitted, such as expansion plates, braces, or bite-correcting springs.

Adults may prefer to have lingual braces, which are fitted to the inside of the teeth.

People commonly seek treatment from orthodontists when they have:

  • difficulty or pain with biting or chewing

  • crooked, uneven, protruding, or crowded teeth

  • an underbite or overbite

  • jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face

  • problems breathing through the mouth or snoring

  • speech problems

Some people go to orthodontists to close wide gaps between their teeth or improve the appearance of their smile.


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