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Research & Innovation | Overview

Over the past decade, observing the aesthetics of a smile has become a key element of orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning. Marc Bernard Ackerman, DMD, MBA, FACD, director of Orthodontics at Boston Children’s Hospital, was one of the first to publish on smile studies. Focusing on the aesthetics of a smile, Ackerman looked at patient smiles before orthodontic treatment and after treatment, observing the conventional way braces were being put on and looking at how the teeth were lining up relative to the lips.

Dr. Ackerman found that both orthodontics and patients prefer a smile where the arch of the upper teeth parallels the lower lip. He coined the term “smile arc," which is now one of the desired objectives of orthodontics treatment.


The Orthodontic Program at Boston Children's Hospital believes every child is entitled to family centered care delivered by a collaborative team of experts. Our team works closely with our dentists and specialists in other departments in order to develop individual care plans that meet patients' medical and emotional needs, as well as their family's need for information, support, and assistance.

In our dental clinic, we employ the latest advances in computerized diagnostics, orthodontic materials, and treatment techniques. This, combined with the clinical skills of the dental staff, ensures the highest level of patient care.

We also stress the importance of ongoing oral care for your child. For instance, if your child gets braces, our orthodontists will suggest a follow-up regimen that includes flossing and the avoidance of certain foods such as popcorn, caramel, and nuts.

Why choose orthodontic treatment?

The following problems may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment:

  • misaligned, crooked, or crowed teeth
  • missing teeth
  • extra teeth
  • an overbite
  • an underbite
  • misaligned or incorrect jaw position
  • a gummy smile

Services we provide

Braces, also called fixed orthodontic appliances, generally come in two varieties:

  • metal, that are bonded to teeth
  • ceramic (tooth colored), that are bonded to teeth

Both types use wires to move the teeth to the desired position.