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Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature oralfacial structures. The practice of orthodontics involves the design, application, and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Why is "early treatment" or "phase one orthodontics" recommended for some children even those with baby teeth?

A: In some cases, interceptive care is necessary to guide jaws and teeth into more favorable position, help gain space for extreme crowding problems, improve growth and alignment of upper and lower jaws, preserve space for permanent teeth especially if baby teeth were prematurely lost, and to help reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruding teeth.

Another reason to start orthodontics is to alleviate any existing or potential psychological issues that may become evident because of a dramatic malocclusion. Physical appearance can have a powerful effect of social behaviors, popularity, and self-image.

2. What are orthodontic records and why are they important?

A: Orthodontic records include study models of the teeth, x-rays, photographs of the face and teeth, and in some cases can include tomograms and CAT scans. These records provide information that cannot always be determined during a visual exam. Examples of this information includes: missing and extra teeth, abnormalities/pathology in the jawbones, root development, growth patterns, and many other factors. These records form a basis for a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan.

3. Why is it important to do orthodontics during the adolescent growth spurt?

A: Adolescence is a time when much facial growth occurs. Treatment during this time allows the orthodontist to favorably influence the facial profile. If there is a significant jaw discrepancy and growth has ceased, surgery may be necessary.

4. When is a patient too old for braces?

A: Age is not a factor as long as the patient's teeth and supporting structures are healthy. Many adults are taking advantage of the lifelong benefits of orthodontics. This decision has allowed them to live their lives with an attractive and healthy smile that brings them confidence.

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