Orthodontia is the specialty of dentistry that is concerned with the treatment of improper bites and crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment can help fix the patient’s teeth and set them in the right place. Orthodontists usually use braces and clear aligners to set the patient’s teeth. Orthodontists work on reconstructing the entire face rather than focusing only on teeth. After a course of active orthodontic treatment, patients will typically wear retainers (orthodontic devices), which help to maintain the teeth in their improved positions while surrounding bone reforms around them. The retainers are generally worn full-time for a period, anywhere from just a few days to a year, then part-time (typically, nightly during sleep) for as long as the orthodontist recommends. It is possible for the teeth to stay aligned without regular retainer wear. However, there are many reasons teeth will crowd as a person ages, whether or not teeth will stay aligned without retention. For this reason, many orthodontists prescribe night-time or part-time retainer wears for many years after orthodontic treatment. In diagnosis and treatment planning, the orthodontist must

(1) Recognize the various characteristics of a malocclusion or dentofacial deformity;

(2) Define the nature of the problem, including the etiology if possible;

(3) Design a treatment strategy based on the specific needs and desires of the individual; and

(4) Present the treatment strategy to the patient in such a way that the patient fully understands the ramifications of his/her decision.




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