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Orthodontics

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Definition

noun

The branch of dentistry concerned with correcting misalignment of teeth


Supplement

Orthodontics is one of the branches of dentistry. Some of the other branches include periodontics, endodontics, and prosthodontics. Nevertheless, orthodontics is the first specialty in this field. This branch of dentistry is concerned primarily with the study and treatment of malocclusions. Malocclusions pertain to the misalignment of the opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaws leading to improper bites. Causes of malocculusions involve tooth irregularity and disproportionate jaw relationships.

A specialist in orthodontics is called an orthodontist. An orthodontist can recommend orthodontic treatments such as dental displacement and orthognatic surgery (although the latter may require additional years of specialty training). In essential, orthodontists may use devices aimed at moving teeth or adjusting the underlying bone to correct teeth alignment. An example of a case that an orthodontist handles is a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, which may be corrected through splinting or dental braces.


Word origin: Greek orthós (proper, right) + Greek odṓn (toothed) + -ics (study, field of knowledge)

Synonym(s):

  • Orthodontia
  • dentofacial orthopedics

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