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Orthodontics is the area of dentistry including the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion” which means “bad bite”.
The full name of the specialty is “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics”. The Orthodontics part refers to the alignment and the teeth and the fit of the bite while the Dentofacial Orthopedics part refers to the guidance of the growth of the jaws and face for facial balance and well fitting jaws.
Just as there are specialties in medicine such as cardiology for your heart or dermatology for your skin, there are specialties in dentistry such as periodontics for your gums or orthodontics for your face and smile. For simplicity orthodontics is used to describe the specialty.