Often incorrectly shortened to ortho
The branch of dentistry
that concerns the growth of the face, development of the dentition
, and the prevention and correction of occlusal anomalies.
Most people associate this with braces, formally termed fixed appliance, to distinguish it from removable appliances.
My personal view point of orthodontia has changed over the years. I was not interested in straightening teeth for aesthetic reasons, save the few cases of gross teeth displacement. The argument was that many people have badly positioned teeth, and they don't have troubles... How inaccurate!
I now see orthodontia as a preventive measure.
For example, a crossbite (where the lower teeth over lap the upper teeth instead of vice versa) may look fine and function well while the person is still young, but a crossbite in a mature over stressed adult who grinds his teeth like buggery is a real killer. The position of teeth leads to really really bad wear patterns and fixing it often involves a full mouth reconstruction. And by then, it is accompanied by headaches and jaw aches. To add insult, it could have been fixed with a removable appliance for a few months when still the individual was a child.