Orthodontics is the area of dentistry including the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion” which means “bad bite”.
An orthodontist is a dental specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
They must complete an additional 2-3 year residency program in advanced orthodontic education after dental school and pass the Board Exam to become a certified specialist in Orthodontics.
Besides function a very significant benefit of orthodontic treatment is the psychological lift patients receive when they can eat quietly and comfortably in public, or when they can smile confidently instead of covering their mouth when smiling. This can have a huge impact on self confidence and well being.
Due to the complex nature of orthodontics, while Family (or General) Dentists are permitted to perform orthodontic procedures, they often limit the treatment that they provide to cases of minor occlusal problems, because only Orthodontists are certified dentists that have additional training in Orthodontics.
You do not need a referral from a family (general) dentist in order to see an orthodontist.
The first orthodontic screening should be done at around age 7.
As soon as it is noticed by the parents or the family dentist that something seems wrong with the way the face is developing or how the teeth are growing in, it is advisable to see an orthodontist