Orthodontics is the correction of crowded or unevenly spaced teeth. Orthodontic treatment is usually performed on older children and adolescents while their teeth are still developing, although adults can also benefit. Casts of the teeth are taken before an orthodontic appliance, or brace, is applied either to move or straighten the teeth gradually. In some cases, it is necessary to extract one or more teeth in order to make room for others. The treatment usually takes several months or years to complete and necessitates regular visits to the orthodontist for checkups.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.