What Is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who diagnoses, prevents, and treats dental and facial irregularities to help correctly align teeth, bites, and jaws. Orthodontists typically complete an additional 2-3 years of specialized training after graduating from dental school.

What do orthodontists do?

Orthodontists use a variety of techniques to treat dental and facial irregularities, including:

  • Braces: Braces are the most common orthodontic treatment. They use brackets, bands, and wires to gradually move teeth into the correct position.

  • Clear aligners: Clear aligners are a newer type of orthodontic treatment that is becoming increasingly popular. They are a series of clear, removable trays that gradually move teeth into the correct position.

  • Headgear: Headgear is used to correct certain types of jaw problems. It is worn outside the mouth and applies force to the jaw to move it into the correct position.

  • Retainers: Retainers are used to keep teeth in their new position after orthodontic treatment is complete.

What conditions do orthodontists treat?

Orthodontists treat a wide variety of dental and facial irregularities, including:

  • Crowded teeth: Crowded teeth occur when there is not enough space in the jaw for all of the teeth to fit properly.

  • Overbites: An overbite occurs when the upper teeth protrude too far over the lower teeth.

  • Underbites: An underbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude too far over the upper teeth.

  • Crossbites: A crossbite occurs when one or more upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth.

  • Gaps between teeth: Gaps between teeth can be caused by a number of factors, such as missing teeth or an enlarged jaw.

  • Impacted teeth: Impacted teeth are teeth that are trapped in the jawbone and cannot erupt into the mouth.

  • Jaw misalignment: Jaw misalignment can cause a variety of problems, including pain, difficulty chewing, and TMJ disorders.

Benefits of orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment can have a number of benefits, including:

  • Improved oral health: Orthodontic treatment can help to improve oral health by making it easier to clean teeth and gums. This can help to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems.

  • Improved appearance: Orthodontic treatment can improve the appearance of the smile by straightening teeth and improving the bite. This can boost self-confidence and make it easier to smile and socialize.

  • Improved function: Orthodontic treatment can improve the function of the teeth and jaws by making it easier to chew, speak, and breathe. This can improve overall quality of life.

Who should see an orthodontist?

Anyone who is concerned about their smile or the alignment of their teeth should see an orthodontist. Orthodontic treatment can be beneficial for people of all ages, from children to adults.

How to find an orthodontist

There are a number of ways to find an orthodontist. You can ask your dentist for a referral, or you can search online for orthodontists in your area. Once you have found a few potential orthodontists, you can schedule consultations to learn more about their experience and treatment options.


Orthodontic treatment can be a life-changing experience for many people. It can improve oral health, appearance, and function. If you are considering orthodontic treatment, I encourage you to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist to learn more about your options.