Orthodontics is the area of dentistry that specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and correcting dental and facial irregularities. Primarily, orthodontists deal with malocclusions and use a variety of orthodontic techniques and tools to correct them.

Like how doctors may choose to specialize in a certain area of medicine, such as neurology or psychiatry, dentists can choose to specialize in orthodontics. For dentists to become qualified orthodontists, they must attend a three-year training program after completing dental school. The regulating body for this branch of dentistry is the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

The AAO reports that orthodontic treatment is more fast and effective the younger the patient is. They recommend that children around seven be taken to the orthodontist to ensure no jaw or tooth irregularities are forming.

What problems do orthodontists treat?

Many Brooklyn, NY orthodontic practices treat patients of all ages but are limited to general orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Orthodontists are generally concerned with malocclusions, which are the incorrect positioning of the teeth when the jaw is closed. Misaligned teeth can lead to many problems such as speech defects, chewing difficulties, and difficulties maintaining oral hygiene.

The most common issues orthodontists treat are:

Anteroposterior deviations

These deviations are known to cause difficulty chewing and articulating. The most common examples of anteroposterior deviations are overbites (upper teeth protruding past the lower teeth) and underbites (lower teeth protruding past the upper teeth).


This is the most common issue dealt with by orthodontists. A jawbone with a lack of space leads to serious problems for the eruption and alignment of adult teeth. Unobtrusive dental devices and treatments can be used to correct this problem.

Aesthetic issues

Bad bite and malocclusion can misshape the structure of the face, jaw, and lips. Orthodontists can use restructuring devices to create a healthy, beautiful, even smile.

What devices do orthodontists use to correct misalignment?

Before creating a treatment plan for their patients, orthodontists must thoroughly examine their jaw and teeth. They may use panoramic X-rays and bite impressions (study models) to get a better sense of the condition of the jaw and determine the best course of action.

After the initial examination, orthodontists may choose to treat their patients with:

Dental braces

Traditional braces are made of metal, ceramics, or clear material attached to metal brackets and an archwire. The brackets are affixed to each individual tooth and the archwire connects each bracket. Dental braces align the teeth slowly and gently.

Headgear and facemasks

These devices can attach to dental braces to further encourage the teeth and jawbone into realignment. These are used primarily to correct overbites, underbites, and other developmental problems.


Retainers are commonly used after dental braces or headgear treatment to ensure that the teeth do not move back to their original positions. They are worn until the underlying bone has correctly reformed but should be removed when eating.

To express any questions or concerns you may have about orthodontics and orthodontic treatment, please contact our Brooklyn Dentist.