Orthodontia, also called orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, is a specialty field of dentistry that deals primarily with malpositioned teeth and the jaws: their diagnosis, prevention and correction. Typically treatment for malocclusion can take 1 to 2 years to complete, with braces being altered slightly every 4 to 8 weeks by the orthodontist. There are multiple methods for adjusting malocclusion, depending on the needs of the individual patient. In growing patients there are more options for treating skeletal discrepancies, either promoting or restricting growth using functional appliances, orthodontic headgear or a reverse pull facemask.
Most orthodontic work is started during the early permanent dentition stage before skeletal growth is completed. If skeletal growth has completed, orthognathic surgery can be an option. Extraction of teeth can be required in some cases to aid the orthodontic treatment. Starting the treatment process for overjets and prominent upper teeth in children rather than waiting until the child has reached adolescence has been shown to reduce damage to the lateral and central incisors. However the treatment outcome does not differ.