PDF: ORTHODONTIC BASICS for Lori Garland Parker


Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Many technical terms and names of biological structures are formed from Greek and Latin roots.


The technical term for orthodontic problems is referred to as “malocclusion”, which means “bad bite”.


The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance. 

Orthodontic treatment achieves not only a correct bite, but also beautiful smiles, improved dental health and increased self-esteem and self-confidence.



Most orthodontic problems are hereditary. Inherited problems include crowding or spacing of teeth, missing or supernumerary teeth, cleft palate and a wide variety of other irregularities of the jaws and face. 

For example, a patient may inherit their mother’s small mandible, and their father’s large teeth; if this were the case, the child’s teeth would be too large to fit their mandible and result in malocclusion.

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