Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting improper tooth alignment and jaw relationships. With straight teeth, a patient can bite, chew and speak more efficiently and is less likely to suffer gum disease, cavities and dental injury. However, the greatest benefit of all is the self-esteem that comes from a beautiful smile. Orthodontists use a wide range of treatment options from traditional metal braces to Invisalign and lingual braces to straighten the teeth. Orthodontists first need to become regular dentists, but in addition, have to spent two to three extra years in a post-dental education to become orthodontists. They also must be available 24/7 and pass written test and a performance licensing exams to practice orthodontics in the state of Illinois.