Orthodontics is a dental specialty, which means certain dentists receive advanced training to become a specialist in this area. Probably the most well known of the dental specialists, orthodontists have been specifically trained and certified to treat malocclusion, or "bad bite". Braces are a common and effective technology orthodontists use for correcting a bad bite and straightening a smile.
What are braces?
Braces are brackets that attach to your teeth, with arch wires that connect the brackets. This hardware exerts a gentle pressure on teeth that slowly pushes them in the right direction to straighten the smile. This straightening works over a period of months, and requires a series of adjustment along the way.
Braces aren't just for kids.
If you'd like your teeth to be straighter, regardless of your age, you should contact your dentist or orthodontist about getting braces. Some treatments work better when you are younger, so the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you have your children evaluated by the age of seven. Adults can get also very good results from braces, but your orthodontist may use different methods, and the process will often take longer.
Teens and adults are often concerned about having an unattractive "metal-mouth" look. Today's orthodontics uses newer technologies which have made the brackets and wires smaller and less visible. In some cases, your orthodontist can even use brackets positioned behind the teeth, or special transparent and removable appliances that are hardly noticeable at all. (See Invisalign)
Ask your dentist what options are appropriate for straightening your smile.