What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a type of dentistry that corrects the position of teeth. Orthodontists correct irregular teeth by using orthodontic appliances, and the most commonly used is a ‘fixed appliance’, usually called braces or train tracks. These help to align the teeth.

What does that mean for me?

  • Sometimes a cleft can cause a gap in your gum and the bone of your jaw. This means some front teeth come into the mouth twisted, in the wrong position, or don’t appear at all.
  • If this is true for you, you will probably have seen an orthodontist from a very young age to check how your teeth are growing. You may have had braces, and you will probably have had an Alveolar Bone Graft surgery when you were 8-12 years old to make sure your adult teeth grow as best they can.
  • When your adult teeth start to grow, you may need braces to encourage your teeth to come through in the right way. If you have braces, you need to be extra careful to take good care of your teeth, which means brushing regularly and following any advice from your dentist.
  • Orthodontists also work together with surgeons when planning orthognathic surgery with you. They ensure your teeth are in the ideal position after the operation.
  • The things you’ll go through as part of your orthodontic treatment might be challenging or feel uncomfortable, but in the long-term it can make a big difference the appearance of your teeth, and your smile!
  • Talk to your orthodontist or Clinical Psychologist if you have any questions or concerns.



Published: November 2015

Next Review: February 2017

Source(s): Range of existing literature from CLAPA, including a leaflet produced by the Royal College of Surgeons in association with CLAPA. Stories and suggestions from teenagers born with a cleft have been included throughout. Information from Changing Faces was also consulted. This information has been reviewed by cleft health professionals as well as CLAPA’s Children and Young People’s Council.

If you have a comment or question about the information in this page, or would like to know more about the sources of this information, please contact Communications & Information Manager Anna Martindale at [email protected] or 020 7833 4883.


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