What is an orthodontist in simple terms?

An orthodontist is a dentist trained to diagnose, prevent, and treat tooth and jaw irregularities. They correct existing conditions and are trained to identify problems that may arise in the future. Orthodontists work with people of all ages, from children to adults. An orthodontist is a dentist (a doctor who works on teeth) who specializes in straightening teeth with appliances such as braces.

Orthodontists have the education and experience needed to diagnose the underlying cause of a patient's bite problems—technically called malocclusion—and then determine the best treatment plan to fix it. A typical treatment for poorly positioned teeth (malocclusion) lasts one to two years, and specialists called orthodontists, college trained dental specialists who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial irregularities, adjust braces every four to ten weeks. Indeed, an orthodontist is a dentist with almost twice as much training, most of them specialized in the field of teeth straightening. Orthodontists offer a wide range of treatment options to straighten crooked teeth, correct irregular bites, and align the jaws correctly.

The orthodontist straightens teeth with braces (metal wire attached to the teeth), harnesses (metal wire that can be attached to the teeth and to the neck or head) and retainers (removable wire and plastic). Most dental schools require another two or three years of training before a student qualifies as an orthodontist. If your dentist thinks you can be treated with Invisalign, you may not need to see an orthodontist at all. The orthodontist then places the brackets on the front of the teeth and the bands are connected to them by cables.

While you may have to wear braces, an aligner, or a metal helmet for a while, your orthodontist takes your interests into account and will work to provide you with the best possible smile. Fixed retainers are a simple wire that is attached to the part of the incisors that faces the tongue with dental adhesive and can be especially useful to avoid rotating the incisors.