The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Orthodontics is the specialty in dentistry that studies the alteration of the alignment of crooked teeth. Orthodontic practice can generally be done for aesthetic reasons; however it can also be medical. Treatment includes braces, plates, retainers, headgear, and other appliances.



An orthodontist is a dentist with additional specialist training in improving incorrect or unfavorable position/s (malocclusion) of the teeth and in growing children the underlying bone structure. US Orthodontists are usually members of the American Association of Orthodontists. The World Federation of Orthodontists is a global organization comprised of all orthodontists worldwide. In order to become an orthodontist, one must first attend graduate from college, and then attend dental school. After successfully completing dental school, you can apply to orthodontic programs. There are approximately 240 openings in orthodontic programs across the US that range from 24 to 36 months.


Treatment modalities includes braces, plates, retainers, head gear etc.

Phase I orthodontics, or early treatment, involves correcting discrepancies before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This treatment begins sometimes as early as 5 or 6 years of age. It may be done to correct a developing cross bite, over bite, or to decrease the likelyhood of facial truama from severely malaligned teeth. Phase II orthodontics is the more traditional treatment can begin once all of the permanent teeth have erupted. A combination of Phase I and Phase II treatment can decrease the overall time necessary for orthodontic treatment, by correcting major problems at the height of developmental growth.


Patients are typically aged 6 - 20, meaning that "having braces" forms a part of teen culture. Treatment usually occurs over a number ofyears, making orthodontics a particularlly expensive medical procedure, and so parents often save up for their childs treatment, in a manner similar to saving a college fund

External Links

  • (German Association of Orthodontists)

Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13