Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws. Orthodontists also have specialized training in facial abnormalities and disorders of the jaw. A patient may consult an orthodontist after receiving a referral from his or her general dentist–recommending orthodontic treatment to improve the patient’s physical “orofacial” appearance.

Dental braces align a patient’s teeth according to the person’s bite. Dental braces often correct underbites, overbites, crooked teeth and other problems. Many times orthodontists use braces in conjunction with other devices to widen jaws or shape the teeth. Dental braces are most commonly seen in teenagers, although adults and children may need them as well.