Orthopedics is considered the first step along the path of orthodontics. Mainly focused on children whose teeth, jaw structure, and facial growth are still developing, orthopedics aim to straighten or align the teeth. Typically involving short-term therapies like retainers or other removable devices, orthopedics may actually preclude the need for future orthodontic treatment. Orthopedic treatments have proven to work in both cases of genetic and environmental malocclusion (crowded/crooked teeth) and can help children to avoid potentially damaging behaviors—like mouth breathing—before they become a habit or start to negatively affect other areas of your child’s life.
Should further treatment be necessary, you’ll move into the realm of orthodontics. Orthodontics works by gradually aligning the teeth using braces that have been bonded to the teeth. Different from orthopedics which are typically removable, orthodontics like braces may remain in place for months or years.