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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties.  The word “orthodontics” is derived from the Greek words orthos, meaning proper or straight and odons meaning teeth.  Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area.  Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.

There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech and a more pleasant smile.  Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven.  The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved.

What problems can be treated with orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a versatile branch of dentistry that can be used alone, or in combination with maxillofacial or cosmetic dentistry.

Here are some of the common conditions treated with orthodontics:

  • Anteroposterior deviations – The discrepancy between a pair of closed jaws is known as an anteroposterior discrepancy or deviation.  An example of such a discrepancy would be an overbite (where the upper teeth are further forward than the lower teeth), or an underbite (where the lower teeth are further forward then the upper teeth).

  • Overcrowding – Overcrowding is a common orthodontic problem.  It occurs when there is an insufficient space for the normal growth and development of adult teeth.

  • Aesthetic problems – A beautiful straight smile may be marred by a single misaligned tooth. This tooth can be realigned with ease and accuracy by the orthodontist.  Alternatively, orthodontists can also work to reshape and restructure the lips, jaw or the face.

Orthodontic Solutions

Orthodontics is a technologically advanced field which offers many sophisticated solutions to malocclusions and other cosmetic problems.  The orthodontist will generally perform a visual examination, panoramic x-rays and study models (bite impressions) in order to assess the exact nature of the discrepancy.

When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available.

Here is an overview of some of the most common treatments:

  • Fixed orthodontic braces – A metal or ceramic dental base is affixed to each tooth, and a dental wire is inserted through each base.  The orthodontist is able to gradually train the teeth into proper alignment by regularly adjusting the wire.  When the desired results are achieved, the fixed dental braces are completely removed.

  • Removable appliances – There are a wide range of removable appliances commonly used in orthodontics, including headgear that correct overbites, Hawley retainers that improve the position of the teeth even as the jawbone reforms, and facemasks which are used to correct an underbite.

  • Invisalign® – This is a newer, removable type of dental aligner that is completely transparent.  Invisalign® does not interfere with eating because of its removable nature, and mechanically works in the same way as the traditional metal dental braces.  Not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontics, please contact our office.

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Testimonials


Judy A.
★★★★★ a month ago
Very impressed. Dr. Echols conducted much of the cleaning himself and thoroughly examined my teeth and gums. Staff members were friendly and professional. I'm glad I chose this practice.


Hank G.
★★★★★ 6 months ago
Swan Dental is a very friendly yet professional Dental Office with a great atmosphere, friendly staff and Doctor. This was my first visit and was called in exactly at my appointed time; I'm am very pleased so far. I'm happy I tried them. BTW, the prices they charged were a little lower than those of my previous dentist.
Update - some months later, went in for 2 fillings. Dr Echols and his assistant had them both done in about 20 minutes, and no pain. Simply a great dental office!


Bill L.
1 review
★★★★★ 8 months ago
I live in North Carolina and was in Tucson helping our daughter move. A poor choice in candy selection resulted the crown on a lower molar "popping off". I called several dentists on a Monday morning and one of the dentist's receptionist referred me to Swan Dental - her personal dentist. The folks at Swan were incredible. They were efficient, kind, friendly, professional ... the superlatives just keep coming. I was thrilled to be seen the same morning I called and the dentist cemented the crown expeditiously. The receptionist, assistant, and dentist were all extraordinary. I wish the dental professionals in my home town were as focused on providing such an exceptionally positive experience. Thanks!

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