Orthodontic treatment corrects teeth malposition, usually with braces or other mechanical aids. Treating irregularities of your bite not only makes your smile look more attractive, but also protects your teeth from unnecessary abrasion and proximal caries which tends to develop in areas with limited interdental space.

Common Malocclusions include:


This is the most common malocclusion and affects as many as 90 percent of kids. Overcrowding most typically occurs in the bottom teeth. Mild crowding may technically present no need for correction and even more acute crowding may lessen in severity over time on its own, as a child’s jaw increases to its fully mature adult size.

Open Bite

This malocclusion is seen when the front teeth do not come together fully when a child bites down. In most cases, it is best to wait until all the baby teeth have been lost to treat an open bite, because as children age, the top and bottom rows of front teeth tend to progressively grow closer to each other.


When the upper jaw is larger than the lower jaw, the malocclusion is called an overbite. An overbite is also known commonly as “buck teeth.” An estimated 25-30 percent of kids have an overbite, which is actually not corrected with braces. An overbite is a skeletal abnormality that must be treated either at a young age or in the adolescent and teen years.


When the lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw, the malocclusion is called an underbite. It is potentially less complicated to correct this issue earlier rather than later, but waiting until a child is a bit older does not typically present any major issues.


This is a form of malocclusion where a tooth is either closer to the tongue or the cheek that its relative analogous tooth in the lower or upper dental arch. Typically, the orthodontist recommends early intervention for this type of malocclusion but crossbites can also be successfully corrected when the child is a bit older.


Types of Braces:

Metal braces / Traditional braces

The most common braces are the familiar metal brackets that an orthodontist bonds to the front of your teeth. Bands completely wrap around your teeth, while much less noticeable lingual braces bond to the backs of your teeth. All of these metal braces rely on wires for tightening and straightening.

While metal braces fuse to your teeth, you can also get plastic braces that are less permanent. These transparent braces generally come in a tray format and fit around all of your upper or lower teeth. Instead of using wires to make your teeth straighter, your orthodontist fashions a newly aligned tray every few weeks.

Self-ligating braces

Historically, the only choice in wearing braces was the conventional, bulky type requiring tightening every few weeks and lots of appointments when bands would break. Today, while traditional appliances are still available there are other options for you to choose from. Both traditional and self-ligation (Damon) braces achieve the same basic results, but the self-ligation style is typically easier to tolerate. The differences include:


The traditional style of braces use clunkier materials that are more obvious on the teeth. There is also the need for elastic bands. With self-ligation braces, elastic bands are eliminated and the braces are less obvious in their appearance.

How they work

While both styles of orthodontic treatment get the same results, the way those results are achieved is different. Traditional braces uses a process in which you return to the orthodontist every four to six weeks to have them tightened and band repositioned to pull on teeth to move them.

Most people have sore mouth for several days to a week following each tightening appointment throughout the one to three year treatment. self-ligation braces work by using a tiny spring-loaded door to maintain pressure on the archwires. This process applies pressure to the system to gently adjust the teeth to the desired position. Because of the new technology used in self-ligation braces, the need for tightening is eliminated.

Esthetic Braces

If you want straighter teeth but are concerned about how you’ll look with braces, consider this; many cosmetically minded celebrities are wearing esthetic braces to improve their smiles quickly without compromising their signature look. In fact, when Tom Cruise graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly in 2002 he was wearing clear braces.

How Do Esthetic Braces Work?

Esthetic braces work the same way as metal braces. The only difference is that crystal-clear brackets are used instead of metal ones. They are a great alternative for patients who want a more esthetic alternative to metal braces and are not a candidate for clear aligners, such as Simpli5 or Invisalign.

Why do people get braces?

A dentist usually recommends braces to improve a patient’s “orofacial” appearance. Through orthodontic treatment, problems like crooked or crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position and disorders of the jaw joints are corrected. If left untreated, these problems can result in tooth decay, gum disease, headaches and earaches, as well as speaking, biting or chewing problems.

Which is the ideal age for orthodontics?

Kids and teenagers are by far the most common patients to receive braces, but that age commonality doesn’t mean adults can’t benefit from this orthodontic treatment, too. In fact, about 20 percent of patients undergoing braces are older than age 18.

Many adult patients choose to pursue a straighter smile after missing out on the opportunity to get braces as children. Others had braces as kids but have had shifting teeth as adults. Still others have never experienced crooked or overcrowded teeth but need help correcting structural or skeletal issues later in life. Whatever the reason, braces can benefit adult patients as much as children.

When is the best time to begin orthodontics (braces)?

Though an orthodontist can enhance your smile at any age, there is an optimal time to begin treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7.

At this age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but an examination can help anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

An early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and a greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention helps redirect growth and development, preventing serious skeletal problems later. When early orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is the ideal time.

Braces aren’t just for kids. More and more adults are also wearing braces to correct minor problems and to improve their smiles.


How long will I have to wear braces?

That depends upon your treatment plan. The more complicated your spacing or bite problem is, and the older you are, the longer the period of treatment, usually. Most patients can count on wearing full braces between 12 and 24 months, followed by the wearing of a retainer to set and align tissues surrounding straightened teeth.

How young is too young?

In some cases, starting and completing this orthodontic treatment too early can have unwanted consequences.

While most children have all of their adult teeth by age 14, that age milestone does not mean kids stop growing.

Children who continue to grow for many years after they have braces might find that they need an extra orthodontic treatment as teenagers or later in their young-adult years.

Many dentists recommend that patients undergo an evaluation for braces by age 7. Since this age is generally when early intervention treatments start, this age is the ideal age for parents to begin to understand what’s in store for their child’s orthodontic future. Receiving braces before age 6, however, is rare.

For kids, the most common window for standard braces is between 10 and 14 years old. Dentists often find this range ideal because kids of these ages have generally lost all of their baby teeth and already have their 12-year molars. Since preteens and teens are still growing, however, their teeth are receptive to the sometimes-intensive manipulation and realignment that braces perform.

Early Intervention

Since your dentist will design a treatment plan that addresses your child’s specific dental needs and issues, braces can vary from patient to patient. If your child suffers from a significant underbite, overbite, or severe overcrowding, your dentist might decide that your child is a candidate for early intervention. This early intervention typically consists of Phase I and Phase II treatments.

Phase I is generally geared toward children between ages 7 and 10 who don’t yet have all of their adult teeth. At this stage, braces aren’t typically involved. Instead, most of the issues that dentists and orthodontists address during Phase I relate to structural and skeletal problems. Intervention at this point can also reduce the level of dental surgery necessary during your child’s teenage.

After Phase I, most patients wear a retainer to enable teeth to continue growing and moving in a healthy direction. Phase II then picks up where Phase I left off and usually consists of a full set of braces. Although some patients might have to wear braces for a standard length of time, many who have already undergone Phase I can look forward to a shorter treatment time during Phase II.

How old is too old?

In most cases, no age is too old for braces, as long as the patient’s gums and teeth are healthy. In fact, older patients have more of a need for braces now than they may have before. Since many adults keep their teeth longer than their parents did, maintaining a healthy smile and a functional bite is necessary.

What benefits gives an orthodontic treatment?

The benefits of orthodontic treatment often go beyond the obvious physical changes of an improved bite and straighter teeth; it’s also a great way to improve a person’s overall self-image. While having beautiful straight teeth is important, even more important is the need to alleviate any potential health problems associated with the teeth or jaw.

Crooked teeth or jaw problems may contribute to improper cleaning of teeth, leading to tooth decay and, possibly, gum disease or total tooth loss. Orthodontic problems that go untreated can lead to chewing and digestion difficulties, speech impairments, and abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. Over time, excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth can affect the jaw joints leading to problems such as headaches or face and neck pain.

Orthodontics – Post-Treatment Care

  • With braces, oral hygiene is more important than ever. Braces have tiny spaces where food particles and plaque get trapped. Brush carefully after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Rinse thoroughly and check your teeth in the mirror to make sure they are clean. Take time to floss between braces and under wires with the help of a floss threader. Have your teeth cleaned every six months to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Insufficient cleaning while wearing braces can cause enamel staining around brackets or bands.

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