Dr. John Lee - Your Family Orthodontist

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About Orthodontics

What is Orthodontics?
The term itself comes from two Greek words: "orthos," which means to right or correct and "odon," which is the Greek word for tooth. Orthodontics is a sub-specialty of dentistry involving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental malocclusions. The practice of orthodontics involves the design, application, and control of corrective appliances, commonly known as braces, to treat and correct these problems.

What is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who after completing four years of dental school has been accepted into an accredited orthodontic program. He or she must then successfully complete an additional two to three academic years of continuous advanced studies in this program approved by the American Dental Association and American Association of Orthodontists. This advanced training includes such diverse studies as physics, embryology, genetics, human growth and development, cephalometrics, biophysics and mechanical engineering. Upon graduating, they are awarded certificates or degrees and can then specialize in orthodontics.
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When to visit an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.


What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.


Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you.