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What is Orthodontics?
This is a field of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dento-facial irregularities. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in design, application and control of a host of corrective appliances (braces) to bring the teeth, lips and jaw into proper alignment and relationship.

If your teeth are irregular, do not bite right and you feel conscious about it, an orthodontist can help. Such problems are called malocclusion. Orthodontists are dentists who are specially trained to straighten teeth (orthodontics) and intercept certain types of developing malocclusion in a growing child by modifying bone growth in the jaws (dento-facial orthopedics).

What Causes Malocclusion?
Malocclusions occur when the jaws and teeth do not meet right.
• Skeletal malocclusion occurs when one jaw does not line up with the other, or when the jaw is too big or too small for the teeth.
• Dental malocclusion occurs when the teeth are out of line, crowded, turned or spread out.
This can happen with or without a jaw problem. 

Malocclusion may be inherited or acquired.
• Inherited malocclusion
A child may inherit jaw from one parent and teeth from the other parent.
This may lead to crowding, spacing or extra or missing teeth.
• Acquired malocclusion
Such condition may be due to poor dental care leading to early loss of deciduous (milk) teeth, traumatic injuries, habits such as thumb sucking and chronic airway obstruction such as enlarged adenoids.
• Other types of malocclusion may be congential in nature such as cleft lip and palate deformity and other syndromes.

Why Is Treatment Important?
These irregularities, if not treated, may lead to more problems as follows:
• Tooth decay and tooth loss as misaligned teeth are difficult to clean and maintain.
• Gum diseases.
• Abnormal wear of tooth surfaces.
• Excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissues.
• Misalignment of the jaw joints, resulting in chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck.
• Lower self esteem as the facial appearance is affected.

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