What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics: Overview

Orthodontic treatment can correct the way teeth and jaws line up. That may help a person feel better about their appearance, and also makes the teeth easier to take care of. Dentists who are specially trained to correct malocclusion (crooked teeth or a "poor bite") are called orthodontists. They use a variety of tools and techniques to move teeth, and sometimes the jaw, into the right position.

Orthodontic treatment often takes about 2 years, but it can take longer than planned. Treatment usually takes longer for an adult than for a child. Ask your dentist how long treatment may last for you.

If your orthodontist says you need surgery for a jaw problem, think about getting a second opinion from another oral surgeon or orthodontist. This can give you more information and help you make a decision that feels right for you.

Braces and other types of orthodontic treatment cost a lot. Many dental insurance plans will cover some of the cost. Before you start treatment, make sure you know how much it will cost and how you will pay for it. Ask if your orthodontist offers a payment plan that can help you fit the expense into your budget.

Orthodontics and orthodontic treatment

Orthodontics is a special type of dentistry for crooked teeth or a poor bite (malocclusion). Dentists who do orthodontic treatment are called orthodontists. They may remove teeth or use devices such as braces to move the teeth or jaw into the right position.


Retainer and photo of retainer in person's mouth

Retainers are removable devices you wear in your mouth to hold teeth in place after your braces are taken off. Retainers are made of molded plastic and wire.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.