Orthodontics – Farrer Park Hospital
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What is Orthodontics?
​Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry concerned with development of the teeth, the jaws, and how they work and relate to one another. Orthodontics deals primarily with the diagnosis, and treatment of teeth and jaws that do not grow properly.
​A wide spectrum of teeth and jaw malposition configurations exist, as do the ways to manage them. Here are some of the more common conditions:
- An “overbite”, which presents with the upper teeth positioned excessively forward of the lower teeth. This is often a result of deficient lower jaw growth. 
- An “underbite”, which presents with the upper teeth positioned in a reverse relationship relative to the upper teeth. This is often a result of either excessive lower jaw growth, reduced upper jaw growth, or a combination of both;
- An open bite, whereby the upper and lower teeth do not meet or overlap each other, either in the front or back of the mouth;
- A “gummy” smile, where there is excessive show of the gums, with or without smiling. This may be due to a variety to reasons, involving the teeth, jaws and lips. 
- Crookedness of the face and jaws, whereby asymmetry exists in one or more of the facial planes. 
​Orthodontics is often identified by its most common appliance, which is the fixed appliance, commonly known as “braces”. Dental alignment can come in the form of appliances placed on the outer surfaces of the teeth, or on the inner surfaces of the teeth, when aesthetics is of concern to the patient. Clear aligners in the form of plastic trays may also be used to straighten the teeth.
Where there is a lack of growth, or excessive growth that is present in the jaws, these can often be managed early in childhood by an orthodontist, to great effect. It is also possible to manage such growth issues effectively in the adult patient through a combination of orthodontic treatment and jaw surgery.
Early identification and management or referral is often most advantageous to the patient, and treatment need not always take on a surgical approach. The most suitable options for treatment are best determined in consultation with your orthodontic specialist.
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