Orthodontics is a specialty field of dentistry that deals primarily with poorly positioned teeth and the jaw including their diagnosis, prevention and correction.
Orthodontic treatment is a way of straightening or moving teeth, to improve the appearance of the teeth and how they work. It can also help to look after the long-term health of your teeth, gums and jaw joints, by spreading the biting pressure over all your teeth.
The benefits of orthodontics can include:
- Correction of dental crowding and straightening of your teeth.
- Correction of your bite so the front and back teeth meet evenly.
- Reducing the chance of damage to prominent teeth.
- Improving your appearance, including your smile.
Orthodontic treatment is usually only started after most of a child's adult teeth have started to come through. This is usually when they're about 12 years old, but depends on the number of adult teeth and the growth of their face and jaws.
Orthodontic treatment for adults can begin at any age and more and more are doing so, but the treatment options are more limited. Treatment also won't begin unless you have a good standard of oral hygiene as orthodontic treatment can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Orthodontics mainly uses braces to correct the position of the teeth. Your exact treatment will depend on the problems with your teeth, but usually the length of treatment will be between 12 and 24 months.