ORTHODONTICS is a field of Dentistry focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of dental malocclusion (“bad bite”) and misalignment. Such conditions may result from poor jaw alignment as well as crowded, missing, and extra teeth. By using a variety of devices such as wires, braces, and retainers, Orthodontists realign teeth to improve their appearance and function. To become an Orthodontist, one first complete four years of training at an accredited dental school in order to secure a DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. The degrees are identical and allow the dentist to begin residency training in Orthodontics. Typical Orthodontic programs last 2 to 3 years and culminate in a subspecialty certificate in Orthodontics. Qualified specialists may then become eligible for certification by the American Board of Orthodontics.
Since Orthodontists perform non-invasive procedures that pose minimal risk, negligence claims against Orthodontists are extremely uncommon. When they occur, they may involve allegations of poor cosmetic results or injuries during Orthodontic procedures. Allegations may also involve the performance of unnecessary procedures which result in undue cost or unwarranted injury.