What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the dental and facial irregularities. It involves the knowledge of various biomechanical principles and the concepts of growth and development to correct various facial as well as dental irregularities. The history of orthodontics leads back to ancient civilizations because similar to now, attractive smiles and healthy dentition were highly desirable goals. Many ancient civilizations used a crude form of appliances to align teeth with commonly used materials for braces including gold, metal and/or catgut. Over the course of history, the materials used for braces evolved to include wood, ivory, copper and brass. platinum, silver, steel. The literature shows that orthodontics have roles not just in the esthetic improvement of patients but also in other dento-facial and associated disorders such as parafunctional habits, developmental disorders of the jaw and teeth (impaction, transposition), obstructive sleep apnea, cleft lip and palate, bruxism, temporomandibular joint disorders, traumatic facial injuries, speech disorders due to dental and skeletal disturbances, etc. The palatal expansion process and functional therapy has shown to improve airflow resistance and improve the oro-naso-pharyngeal airway space in some individuals. The scope of orthodontics is expanding day by day with the newer innovations and techniques such as TADS, clear aligner therapy adding to its scope, and it is believed to add more advancements in the correction of maxillofacial and dental irregularities.