Orthodontics is one of several recognized specialties within dentistry. Orthodontists are dentists who are trained in aligning the teeth and jaws, including the correction of asymmetrical bite patterns. Many dentists are trained to provide some orthodontic treatment but will often refer to an orthodontic specialist when the malocclusion is quite severe.
Orthodontists and dentists provide treatment plans for patients who require teeth straightening procedures due to malocclusion (teeth misalignment).
The teeth can become misaligned for several reasons, including accidents or injuries that impact the teeth, jaw, or face, abnormally sized teeth and jaws, or adult teeth that grow in crooked.
Other potential causes of malocclusions include:
- Habits such as thumb sucking, mouth breathing, or tongue thrusting
- The extended use of pacifiers or bottles
- Losing milk teeth (baby teeth) early, which can cause adult teeth to grow in at a slant.
- Cleft lip and other oral conditions.
- Conditions such as TMD (temporomandibular).
- Gum diseases that lead to loose teeth.
- Poor nutrition (especially in children as the teeth develop).
- Poor dental care or dental hygiene.
- Tumours in the mouth or jaw.