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Understanding the World of Orthodontics

Understanding the World of Orthodontics

For most people the word orthodontics immediately conjures up images of people wearing braces.  Do you really know what this word means though?

Orthodontics is a treatment procedure that will help straighten you teeth. This process helps your teeth function correctly and of course look much better. Different appliances are used to help put a gentle pressure on your teeth. This process is slow and is done over a period of time. This will depend on what problem is being fixed and how much your teeth need to move. It can take several months or a couple of years for your teeth to straighten.

Orthodontics are normally recommended due to your bite. Basically this is how your top and bottom teeth come together. When your teeth do not meet correctly the term malocclusion or bad bite is used. Different types of bad bites include:

  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Overjet
  • Open bite

An orthodontist is a dentist who has specifically trained in learning how to correct these bad bite problems. They will have obtained a post university specialty program in orthodontics. Some regular dentists may be qualified to do basic orthodontic treatments.

While dental braces are the most common form of orthodontics used other devices or appliances include:

  • Headgear – this is normally worn around your head at night time. It guides the directional movement of the teeth. Headgear is usually worn by younger people who are still growing.
  • Retainers – these are worn once your braces are removed. They are worn every day for about six months and then while sleeping after that.
  • Surgery – is only performed for teeth which are badly out of place or damaged.
  • Removable appliances – each appliance has its own purpose and can help move a tooth or teeth as needed. They are not as effective as braces but are often used before braces are fitted.

Braces are fitted by the orthodontist attaching small brackets to each tooth with glue. Then an arched wire is attached to each bracket with ties. These ties are often made from rubber or additional wire. New braces can be a little uncomfortable at first but most people become accustomed to them within a few weeks.

Orthodontics is a specialized practice and when choosing one in your area always ask your dentist for recommendations. As well you can ask friends and other family members who they have used before.

If you are unhappy with how your teeth look you can ask your dentist if orthodontics could make a difference. Many adults wear braces and appliances to help improve the appearance of their teeth. You don’t have to live with bad teeth.


Dr. Reza Salmassian is a Board Certified Orthodontist. For any questions regarding this article or to schedule your complimentary orthodontic evaluation, please contact Dr. Salmassian’s office at 661-222-7444 or visit us at

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