What is Orthodontics [Types, Costs, Benefits]

  • According to past research, approximately 75% of patients in orthodontic treatment were under the age of 18 years old in the U.S.
  • However, more recently, the number of adult orthodontic patients is steadily increasing. In fact, in 2016, approximately 1.55 million adults were in orthodontic treatment, which increaOrthodontics is a popular treatment option for people looking to transform their smiles. Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral problems related to one’s bite and the alignment of teeth. This article will give complete information about Orthodontic Treatment.
  • sed to 1.61 million in 2018.

Understanding Orthodontics

What is Orthodontics?

What is Orthodontics [Types, Costs, Benefits]

Continue reading to learn more about the field of orthodontics and how it can benefit you.

Dental orthodontics can be a lifechanging treatment for your smile. It involves moving your teeth and jaws into their proper positions for a more pleasing appearance and better function. Common orthodontic appliances include braces and clear aligners, which can be ideal for both children and adults. Orthodontics can help straighten your teeth so that they are easier to keep clean, improve speech and chewing efficiency, and alleviate some temporomandibular joint symptoms such as headaches and facial pain caused from an improper bite.

What is the Right Age to Get Orthodontic Treatment?

At what age should you get orthodontic treatment? Here’s what you need to know regarding the best times for orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontic treatment can be performed on both children and adults, as all individuals can benefit from straight teeth. For children, however, early orthodontic treatment can be extremely beneficial and the American Association of Orthodontics recommends having an orthodontic consultation at age 7. This allows orthodontists to diagnose and treat dental issues early on while their jaws are still developing so that treatment is efficient.

Importance of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment is essential for many reasons. Orthodontics dentistry can begin as early as age 7. Continue reading to learn more.

In some cases, children may require early orthodontic treatment to lower their risk of oral health issues worsening overtime. Early orthodontic treatment can be broken down into two phases, phase I and phase II. Phase I orthodontics primarily focuses on children whose permanent adult teeth are not fully developed but may need help coming into the mouth properly. These individuals also may require manipulation of the jaw bones, such as correcting a narrow palate, or directing the growth of the jaws into a more favorable position.

Phase II orthodontics, if needed, helps align all of the permanent adult teeth into their proper position. Overall, early orthodontic treatment can lower the risk of issues like dental crowding, rotated teeth, gaps, open bites, deep bites, crossbites, and more.

Who Provides Orthodontic Treatment?

Wondering who can provide orthodontic treatment? Read more to learn about the specific training requirements to perform orthodontics.

In most cases, orthodontic treatment is performed by an orthodontic specialist, also referred to as an orthodontist. Orthodontists go through an additional two to three years of residency training after graduating from dental school to specialize in orthodontic treatment. In some cases, such as patients with mild crowding, general dentists with proper training and expertise can perform orthodontic treatment.

Types of Orthodontic Issues

There are several types of orthodontic treatment options that can fix a wide range of orthodontic issues. In this section we will discuss common orthodontic issues that individuals face.

Crooked Teeth

Most individuals at some point in their lives develop crooked teeth. Crooked teeth is more than just a cosmetic issue, it can also increase susceptibility to tooth decay, speech issues, digestion problems, and more.

Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth commonly occurs when there is not enough space in the dental arch for all of the teeth to fit properly. This can cause the teeth to overlap or become rotated. Braces and clear aligners are often used to address crowded teeth.

Overlapping Teeth

Overlapping teeth are also referred to as misaligned teeth. Overlapping teeth can make food become more easily trapped in-between your teeth and increase the likelihood of developing other serious issues like gum disease.


Malocclusion refers to a misaligned bite. Malocclusion is broken down into three different classes, class I, class II, and class III. Class I malocclusion is the most common, in which the upper and lower molars are in their ideal locations but dental crowding exists. Class II and III malocclusion refer to the upper molars being shifted too far forward or the lower molars being too far forward, respectively.

Bite Issues

An improper bite refers to the upper and lower teeth not coming together properly. As mentioned, this can make chewing, speaking, and general comfort an issue. There are several different types of bite issues, which are mentioned below.

  • Overbite
    An overbite refers to a bite in which the upper front teeth excessively overlap the lower front teeth. This can cause jaw pain and damage to oral tissues.
  • Underbite
    An underbite occurs when the upper front teeth are positioned behind the lower front teeth. This can lead to jaw strain and trouble chewing, among other issues.
  • Crossbite
    A crossbite refers to the upper being positioned behind the lower teeth. A crossbite can occur in the front or back of the mouth.
  • Open Bite
    When there is a gap between your upper and lower teeth when biting down completely, this is referred to as an open bite. An open bite can also occur in the front or back of the mouth.

Spacing Issues

Some individuals may have gaps or spaces between the teeth. This could be due to missing teeth or an excess amount of room in the jaws.

Lip and Cheek Bumpers

Lip and cheek bumpers are orthodontic appliances designed to make more space for the teeth to come into proper alignment. These appliances keep the lips and cheek muscles out of the way to allow for the teeth to come in properly.

Rotated Teeth

Rotated teeth commonly occur due to crowding. When there is not enough room to fit all of the teeth, the teeth often twist and turn as they come into the mouth. Teeth can also begin to rotate with age, as mechanical forces and small shifting overtime naturally occurs.

Impacted Teeth

Impacted teeth refer to teeth that remain partially or fully stuck underneath the gum tissue or bone. Impacted teeth can result for a variety of different reasons, such as crowding, or a blocked eruption pathway. Wisdom teeth are commonly impacted due to lack of space within the dental arches.

Types of Orthodontic Treatments

One of the most common treatments is orthodontic braces. Read more below to learn about the variety of orthodontic services available.

Traditional Braces

Orthodontic braces are well-known appliances that help straighten teeth and improve bites. They are effective in treating a variety of dental abnormalities, including crowding, gaps, overbites, open bites, underbites, crossbites, and more. Braces consist of metal brackets that adhere to the teeth. A wire is placed into the bracket slots on each tooth and held in place by an o-shaped elastic tie.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces perform an identical function to regular metal braces but have the benefit of being less noticeable. The ceramic brackets appear tooth-colored and blend in more naturally with your teeth than metal brackets.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are designed to move your teeth similarly to metal braces, but in a more discreet manner. The brackets are placed on the back side of the teeth rather than on the front surfaces. Speak with your orthodontist to determine if you are a good candidate for lingual braces.


Retainers are essential orthodontic appliances that are used after orthodontic treatment is completed. Their main purpose is to retain the teeth in their new positions. Retainers are often instructed to be used for a lifetime, or for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight!


One of the most popular orthodontic appliances today is Invisalign. Invisalign is one of the many types of orthodontic aligners available to help discreetly straighten teeth and improve your bite. Invisalign involves the use of a set of clear and removable trays that are custom-made to your individual teeth. A major benefit of Invisalign is that it can be taken off to eat, brush, and floss.

Palate Expanders

Individuals who have a narrow palate in the upper jaw may require treatment with a palate expander. A palate expander is typically used in children, as their palate is not yet fully developed. The palate expander is designed to widen the jaw and create more space for the adult teeth to fit properly. The device is secured to the upper molars and rests on the palate, and requires a key to turn the device for it to perform its function.

Steps Involved in Orthodontic Treatments

Orthodontic treatment can involve several steps. This section will discuss the process involved in orthodontic treatments.

Initial Consultation

First, your orthodontist will perform an initial consultation to evaluate the condition of your teeth and bite. They will take dental X-rays, photographs, and digital scans or impressions of your teeth to help aid in their diagnosis and treatment plan. They will determine if you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment and what the best course of action is for your smile.

Identifying Issues and Treatment Plan

Your orthodontist will discuss with you any existing issues and will tailor your treatment plan to your specific needs. They will go over all of the risks, benefits, and alternative treatment options. They will answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Getting Braces or Aligners

Once it is determined that you are a candidate for orthodontic appliances, the next step is to place the braces or aligners. For traditional braces, your orthodontist will place the brackets on your teeth and then place wires into the brackets. For aligners, your orthodontist will scan your teeth to create a series of trays with incorporated movements. Your orthodontist may need to place tooth-colored attachments to your teeth for the aligners to attach to for efficient tooth movement.

Follow- Up Appointments

Throughout your treatment, you will be seen by your orthodontist regularly for check-ups. Follow-up appointments typically occur every 4-8 weeks for braces, and possibly up to 12 weeks for clear aligners. Your orthodontist will ensure that your teeth are moving properly and make necessary adjustments during these follow-up visits.

Taking Off Braces or Aligners

At the end of your treatment, your braces or clear aligner attachments will be removed. Your teeth will be polished and instructions will be given on how to care for your teeth and maintain your new and improved smile.

Receiving and Wearing Retainers

Orthodontic treatment requires the use of retainers after treatment is completed. Retainers help maintain the final position of teeth. Without retainers, teeth will naturally try to shift to their original position. Your orthodontist will give you specific instructions and the duration to wear your retainers.

Evaluating the Final Outcome

Your orthodontist will take final records, including dental X-rays, photographs, and scans once treatment is complete. Follow-up retainer check visits will be scheduled to evaluate your final outcome after a short period of time.

Cost of Orthodontic Treatment

The cost of orthodontic treatment can depend on multiple factors. In this section we will discuss the cost of orthodontics.

Common factors that influence the cost of orthodontic treatment include length of treatment time, type of orthodontic appliances needed for treatment, complexity of oral issues, and patient age. Average costs of orthodontic appliances without insurance are $3,000 - $7,500 for traditional metal braces, $2,000 - $8,500 for ceramic braces, and $3,000 - $7,000 for Invisalign clear aligners.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Orthodontics?

Wondering does dental insurance cover orthodontics? Find out the answer below.

Depending on the type of insurance you have, orthodontics may or may not be covered. In some cases, dental insurances base coverage based on age. For instance, orthodontic insurance for adults is less common than for children.

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

There are numerous orthodontic benefits. Continue reading to learn about the advantages of dental orthodontics.

  • Proper Cleaning of Teeth
    One of the great benefits of orthodontics is that it can allow individuals to improve their oral health. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and less likely to trap harmful bacteria as opposed to teeth that are overlapping or crooked.
  • Proper Function of Teeth
    Orthodontics can restore proper function of teeth. By positioning teeth into their ideal places, your teeth can efficiently and effectively perform their daily functions such as chewing.
  • Chew and Speak Easily
    Teeth and jaws that are properly aligned makes chewing and speaking easier. Proper pronunciation and eating efficiently depends on the position of your teeth.
  • Prevent Grinding
    A proper bite can help prevent you from teeth grinding and developing other dental issues as a result. Teeth grinding teeth can increase your likelihood of having headaches, worn down teeth, and jaw pain.
  • Fix Biting Issues
    Biting issues can cause temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Orthodontics can properly align your jaws and teeth to protect you against experiencing signs and symptoms of TMD.
  • Reduce Neck and Shoulder Pain
    Teeth out of alignment can result in neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms are often a result of jaw strain and temporomandibular joint disorders.
  • Sinus Relief
    Aligning your teeth and bite can provide sinus relief. In some cases, misalignment can lead to airway constriction and sinus issues.
  • Prevent Tooth Problems
    Orthodontic treatment can help reduce your risk of experiencing tooth problems, like tooth fractures or tooth loss. When the teeth are not properly aligned, they are more likely to become injured, such as in an accident.

Transform Your Smile with Early Orthodontic Treatment at Gentle Dental

Looking for top of the line orthodontic care? Trained professionals at Gentle Dental offer quality orthodontic services for you and your entire family.

Early orthodontic treatment is beneficial in helping everyone achieve a healthy smile. Gentle Dental is unmatched when it comes to the exceptional care given that is unique to each individual’s dental needs. Gentle Dental offers numerous types of orthodontic services, including traditional braces, clear braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign® clear aligners for both children and adults. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about orthodontics and what treatment is best for you!


Orthodontics dentistry can help keep your smile happy and lasting a lifetime. Orthodontics improves the appearance and function of your teeth and jaws. It is especially important to seek orthodontic treatment as early as possible, which can help address issues when they are more easily treatable. The experienced and caring team of dental professionals at Gentle Dental offers the best dental and orthodontic care for you and your family.