Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite.”
Orthodontics is one of the 8 specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The practice of orthodontics involves the design, application and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.
The first professional organization for orthodontists, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), was founded in 1900. It holds the largest yearly gathering of orthodontists in the world, in association with the International Orthodontic Congress and the World Federation of Orthodontists. Some 9,000 dental specialists attend this annual meeting to learn the latest orthodontic treatments.