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Braces Overview

Chances are that if you've had braces, an orthodontist took care of your teeth during that time. Essentially, an orthodontist's job is to correct a bad bite, known as a malocclusion. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) describes its field of dentistry as specializing in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

While children are the main recipients of orthodontic care, about 15 to 20 percent of orthodontic patients are adults. Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age, though it is easier to detect and prevent potential problems early on. The AAO recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7.

Beautiful smiles and straight teeth can make the teeth much easier to care for. Crooked teeth may lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Abnormal enamel wear may be the result of a poor bite, making future replacements or repairs difficult. Some investigators feel that untreated malocclusions are one of the factors contributing to headaches and painful jaw joints.

Another important factor is that well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and floss, thereby maintaining good gingival health. With the concern of an aging population, good gingival health plays a positive roll in overall health.

So see the orthodontist early and find the correct diagnosis and treatment you may need.

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Last Reviewed: Jul 09, 2008

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University