Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Orthodontics and Braces

Orthodontics and Braces

Picture of a smiling mouth with braces

What is orthodontics?

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 parent may consult an orthodontist after receiving a referral from their child's general dentist. However, the American Dental Association recommends that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven.

Why choose orthodontic treatment?

Any orthodontic problem may be classified as a malocclusion, or "bad bite." The following problems may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment:

At what age do braces become appropriate?

In most cases, the ideal age for braces and other orthodontic treatments is between 10 and 14 years of age. Moving and correcting the alignment of the teeth follows the same biological and physical process regardless of age. However, an adult mouth must overcome already-positioned facial bones and jaw structure. Thus, overcoming most types of malocclusions may require more than one type of orthodontic treatment for adults and can sometimes involve jaw surgery.

What are the different types of braces available?

Braces, also called fixed orthodontic appliances, generally come in three varieties:

All three types use wires to move the teeth to the desired position. Clear, removable teeth aligners may also be an option. Ask your orthodontist.

Oral healthcare and braces:

The following recommendations will help to eliminate, or reduce, any oral health problems while your child's teeth are in braces:

Ask your dentist about the application of a flouride varnish around the braces to minimize white spots on the teeth after the braces come off.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Pediatrics

 

Top of Page return to top of page