Years ago, orthodontic treatments were used only for pre-teens and teens having problems with their bite (malocclusion). Today, orthodontic treatments like dental braces are not only for pre-teens and teens, but for adults as well.

Close to 30 percent of all orthodontic patients in the United States are adults. Despite this growing trend towards adult orthodontics, it pays to start orthodontic treatment early for maximum effectiveness. The American Dental Association recommends that children receive an orthodontic evaluation by age seven.

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/her general dentist -- recommending orthodontic treatment to improve the patient's physical "orofacial" appearance. However, the American Dental Association recommends that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven.

Why choose orthodontic treatment?
Any orthodontic problem may be classified as a malocclusion, or "bad bite." The following problems may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment:

Misaligned, crooked, or crowed teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth, an overbite, an underbite, misaligned or incorrect jaw position, or a disorder of the jaw joint.