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Beyond Braces – Understanding Orthodontic Treatments

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting the misalignment of teeth and jaws. Traditionally, orthodontists provide braces for kids and adults who have crooked teeth. They also correct complex alignment problems that make teeth difficult to clean and lead to TMJ syndrome, tooth decay, gum disease, and early tooth loss. Offering both health benefits and improved appearance, orthodontic treatments greatly enhance lives. In addition to their four years in dental school, orthodontists receive two or more years of specialized education in an ADA-approved orthodontic training program.

Problems an Orthodontist Can Correct

Your family dentist may refer you to an orthodontic specialist when alignment abnormalities are noted. After a comprehensive examination, an orthodontist can diagnose and treat the following problems.

  1. Overbites
  2. Underbites
  3. Crossbites
  4. Open bites
  5. Misplaced midlines
  6. Spacing or crowding

Orthodontic Treatments and Appliances

Various types of fixed and removable orthodontic appliances are used to move teeth, retrain muscles, and encourage or slow jaw growth. Here are the most commonly encountered treatments:

  • Affordable braces consist of brackets, bands, and wires that work together to place tension on teeth, and gradually reposition them. Braces are worn for months or years to achieve the desired results.
  • Other fixed appliances can control tongue-sucking or other behaviors. They are typically used as a last resort.
  • Fixed space maintainers keep a space open for a permanent tooth when a baby tooth is lost prematurely. Other maintainers may be removable.
  • Removable plastic aligners are an almost-invisible alternative to traditional braces. They are removed before eating or brushing.
  • Splints are appliances used to reposition the top or lower jaw. They are often used to treat temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.
  • Lip or cheek bumpers relieve pressure placed on the teeth by lip or cheek muscles.
  • Palatal expanders are plastic plates used to widen the arch of the upper jaw.
  • Removable retainers fit onto the roof of the mouth to prevent teeth from shifting back into their previous positions.
  • Headgear is worn to slow upper jaw growth, and realign the front and back teeth.

To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Philadelphia, call Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania today at or make an appointment.


Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Philadelphia. With 8 affiliated practices in the Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania.

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