Dental braces (also known as orthodontic braces, or simply braces) are devices used in orthodontics that align and straighten teeth and help to position them with regard to a person's bite, while also working to improve dental health. They are often used to correct underbites, as well asmalocclusions, overbites, cross bites, open bites, deep bites, crooked teeth, and various other flaws of the teeth and jaw. Braces can be either cosmetic or structural. Dental braces are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances to help widen the palate or jaws and to otherwise assist in shaping the teeth and jaws.
Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws. Orthodontists also have specialized training in facial abnormalities and disorders of the jaw. A patient may consult an orthodontist after receiving a referral from his or her general dentist--recommending orthodontic treatment to improve the patient's physical "orofacial" appearance. However, the American Dental Association recommends that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven.
Any orthodontic problem may be classified as a malocclusion, or "bad bite." The following problems may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment:
Braces, also called fixed orthodontic appliances, generally come in three varieties:
The following recommendations will help to eliminate, or reduce, any oral health problems while your teeth are in braces: