In simple terms his job is to properly position the tooth, and if necessary the jaw bones so as to achieve maximum esthetic and functional efficiency.
The common problems, which require an orthodontist, are protruding anterior teeth, Malocclusion (technical term for crooked, crowded or protruding teeth, which do not fit together properly) crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth, cleft palate and a variety of irregularities of the jaws and face.
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain, and hence are prime sources for accumulation of harmful bacteria. This may contribute to conditions that cause not only tooth decay but eventually gum disease and tooth loss. Orthodontic problems reduce the functional efficiency while chewing and can also lead to problems with the mouth joint.
To prevent the above-mentioned consequences it is always advisable to let the child have an orthodontic screening before the age of 7. The ideal age to commence orthodontic treatment is between 11-14yrs, although treatment can be started at any age. Human bone responds best to tooth movement before the age of 18, and consequently orthodontic work is usually more beneficial to a child than an adult.
The time taken for the completion of orthodontic treatment depends on the severity of the problem, growth of the patient’s mouth and face, and most importantly the cooperation of the patient. It takes any where from a few months to a few years.
An attractive smile wins a lot of hearts and hence should not be underestimated. A pleasing appearance is a vital asset to one’s self-confidence. A person's self-esteem often improves as treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion. In this way, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success, as well as improve one’s general attitude toward life. And thanks to the orthodontist this is all possible.