When you ask search engines or dictionaries, they don't seem to recognise the word 'orthodontry' and all point to 'orthodontics' and 'orthodontia'.

I suspect 'orthodontry' is a mash-up of either of those and 'dentistry'. However, there are many businesses that use the phrase in their advertising and online communications. It seems to specifically refer to the practice of orthodontics.

Is this an example where the dictionaries are just behind the times and is 'orthodontry' just an example of a neologism on the rise - a new 'aluminum'? Or is there some good reason the word should really be avoided?

Examples of sites using the phrase:

There's more like it - none of them any kind of language authority on the subject, but I started looking at it because two colleagues (I live in Australia) mentioned it independently in chat, and upon asking, one shared a mail from their orthodontist that had the word in there.

  • onelook.com finds "orthodonture" as a synonym of "orthodontia". I can't find "orthodontry" at all with a web search. Do you have a link? Aug 9, 2023 at 1:25
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    I think orthodontry is moribund, not a neologism. It seems the American Journal of Orthodontry has been renamed The American Journal of Orthodontics. Same thing seems to have happened to periodontry.
    – TimR
    Aug 9, 2023 at 1:47
  • 1
    – TimR
    Aug 9, 2023 at 1:53
  • google.com/books/edition/…
    – TimR
    Aug 9, 2023 at 1:57
  • Yeah that seems pretty convincing, also no apparent reason why the new word would somehow be better or more useful.
    – Grismar
    Aug 9, 2023 at 2:37

1 Answer 1


User @TimR correctly points out that the word 'orthodontry' appears to be on its way out. It is absolutely dwarfed by 'orthodontics' and 'orthodontia', with 'orthodontia' in decline as well: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=orthodontry%2C+orthodontics%2C+orthodontia&year_start=1800

The word by itself appears to be past its peak, and mostly present in American English: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=orthodontry&year_start=1900

As far as neologisms for orthodontics go, user @JackOFlaherty points out that 'orthodonture' appears more successful, but still not at all threatening 'orthodontics': https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=orthodontry%2Corthodonture&year_start=1800

There is no evidence that there's a regional or professional preference for 'orthodontry' either, like there is with the word 'aluminum' mentioned in the question, which has remained dominant over 'aluminium' in US English.

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