Orthodontia, also known as orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, was the first specialty created in the field of dentistry. An orthodontist is a specialist who has undergone special training in a dental school or college after he/she has graduated in dentistry.
The history of orthodontics has been intimately linked with the history of dentistry for more than 2000 years. Dentistry, had its origins as a part of medicine. According to the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists), archaeologists have discovered mummified ancients with crude metal bands wrapped around individual teeth.
For comprehensive orthodontic treatment, metal wires are inserted into orthodontic brackets (braces), which can be made from stainless steel or a more aesthetic ceramic material. The wires interact with the brackets to move teeth into the desired positions.
In diagnosis and treatment planning, the orthodontist must (1) recognize the various characteristics of a malocclusion or dentofacial deformity; (2) define the nature of the problem, including the etiology if possible; (3) design a treatment strategy based on the specific needs and desires of the individual; and (4) present the treatment strategy to the patient in such a way that the patient fully understands the ramifications of his/her decision.
Orthodontics was the first recognized specialty field within dentistry. Many countries have their own systems for training and registering orthodontic specialists. A two- to four-year period of full-time post-graduate study is required for a dentist to qualify as Specialist Orthodontist.