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Orthodontics corrects the alignment of the teeth to create a beautiful smile and a healthy occlusion (bite). Braces are often used, but new techniques with retainers and removable plastic mouthpieces may eliminate the need for braces.


An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the treatment of dental and facial irregularities by using braces and other techniques to create a healthy bite. An orthodontist helps permanent teeth enter the mouth in a healthy alignment.

When to take your child to the orthodontist

It is recommended that you ask your general dentist about orthodontics when your child's permanent teeth first appear. If teeth enter the mouth and become tipped, rotated, or out of position, they can be moved back by having braces applied to the teeth. Parents should be certain to inquire about orthodontics if they notice the permanent teeth coming in this way, if the child has a pronounced overbite or underbite, or if the child sucks a thumb, finger, or pacifier past the age of five. When a child is examined at an early age, interceptive orthodontics can guide the permanent teeth into position as they erupt into the mouth, sometimes preventing the need for braces at a later age.