Nevada, seat (1909) of Clark county, southeastern Nevada, U.S. The only major city in the American West to have been founded in the 20th century, Las Vegas grew from a tiny, desert-bound railroad service centre at the outset of the 20th century to the country's fastest-growing metropolis at century's end. This transformation - made possible by a combination of shrewd entrepreneurship, access to water, an extensive transportation network, and permissive state laws - has created the city now often known simply as 'Vegas, ' a place of vast casinos, elaborate hotels, and spectacular entertainmentvenuesthat attracts masses of visitors from throughout the world.Casinos on the Strip, Las Vegas, Nev. Digital Vision/Getty Images Las Vegas is Nevada's economic centre and largest city. Its metropolitan area, with more than twice the number of people outside the city limits as within them, contains roughly three-fourths of the state's population. Area 83 square miles (215 square km). Pop. (2000) 478, 434; Las Vegas - Paradise Metro Area, 1, 375, 765; (2010) 583, 756; Las Vegas - Paradise Metro Area, 1, 951, 269. The welcome sign of Las Vegas. AdstockRF Character of the cityLas Vegas is a place of million-lightbulb signs and fantastic architecture, of readily visible wealth and carefully hidden poverty. It is a place of superlatives, both positive and negative. Within the city stand the largest glass pyramid in the world; one of the largest hotels in the country, with more than 5, 000 rooms; and one of the most expensive hotels ever constructed, the Bellagio. The area along Las Vegas Boulevard and its adjoining near-downtown streets - the famous 'Strip' - is the 'City Without Clocks, ' whose multibillion-dollar economy is devoted to servicing a wide array of impulses and addictions of many kinds. It is this Las Vegas, the flashy playground unofficially known as 'Sin City, ' that the American novelist and essayist Joan Didion once termedthe most extreme and allegorical of American settlements, bizarre and beautiful in its venality and in its devotion to immediate gratification. A replica of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Geoff Tompkinson/GTImage.com (A Britannica Publishing Partner) Downtown Las Vegas is built to serve not residents but guests - tens of millions annually. Once derided as a cultural backwater, Las Vegas has evolved into an economic power that outstrips the output of whole countries. It is one of the country's leading vacation destinations, drawing far more tourists than the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park.Beyond the bright lights of the Strip, however, lies a perfectly ordinary Western city, with neighbourhoods, churches, shopping centres, and strip malls. It is that city, and not the hotels and casinos, that draws thousands of new residents each year. This growth, coupled with its unusual economic basis, has made Las Vegas one of the wealthiest cities in the country, but it has also brought problems to the area. Las Vegas is among the country's leaders in personal and property crimes, as well as suicide rates, alcohol consumption, and illegal drug use. The city also suffers the modern urban ills of air and water pollution, and the roads are choked with increasingly heavy traffic as new suburbs spring up in all directions. Suburban Las Vegas, Nevada. iofoto/Shutterstock.com Landscape City siteLas Vegas's historic core lies at a site once occupied by marshes, freshwater springs, and grassy meadows (hence the city's name; vegasis Spanish for 'meadows'), long since covered by streets, buildings, and parking lots. The modern-day city sprawls across a broad, arid valley at an elevation of roughly 2, 000 feet (610 metres). The valley fans out eastward from the picturesque, pine-clad Spring Mountains, whose highest point, Charleston Peak, rises above 11, 910 feet (3, 630 metres). To the north lie three lower ranges, the Pintwater, Spotted, and Desert mountains, and to the east are the McCullough and Sheep ranges. A wide pass between those two ranges leads to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, the huge reservoir on the Colorado River impounded by the dam; Las Vegas Wash, the valley's major drainage, leads through this route. Desert landscape near Las Vegas, Nev. age fotostock/SuperStockBritannica Stories In The News / GeographyColossal Statue of Ramses II ('Ozymandias') Discovered in CairoDemystified / ScienceIs Climate Change Real?Spotlight / HistoryThe Legacy of Order 9066 and Japanese American InternmentIn The News / ScienceMore Evidence of Neanderthal Lifestyles Surrounded by mountains, the Las Vegas Valley is a basin that collects the scant rainwater and snowmelt that reach it. Underlying that basin is a series of aquifers that once led out into small springs near the site of what is now the downtown area. These springs, most of which have dried up because of excessive groundwater pumping, historically flowed into the Colorado River toward the Pacific Ocean. The southern limit of the Great Basin reaches to just 15 miles (24 km) north of Las Vegas; its waters, which have no outlet to the sea, disappear into a vast inland desert. Test Your KnowledgeBaking and Baked GoodsThe Las Vegas Valley is ecologically part of the Mojave Desert, whose characteristic plant is the Joshua tree. The smallest of the North American deserts, the Mojave supports significant human settlement only in the Las Vegas area and at a few points along the Colorado River. More than four-fifths of the city's water supply comes from the Colorado River at Lake Mead. The remainder is pumped from underground aquifers. As more water has been removed from these aquifers, the sandy soils have subsided, leading tofissuringand structural damage of the surface and the formation of large sinkholes. Thesefissuresarecompoundedby the damage caused by occasional earthquakes; the Las Vegas Valley, particularly its northwest quadrant, lies in an active fault zone.ClimateLas Vegas is hot and dry for most of the year. The average daily temperature is 68 F (20 C); the average high is 80 F (27 C) and the average low is 56 F (13 C). January is the coldest month, with average daily temperatures ranging from 57 F (14 C) to 37 F (3 C); freezing temperatures are uncommon in the valley but normal for the surrounding foothills. July is the hottest month, with average daily highs and lows of 104 F (40 C) and 78 F (26 C).Connect with BritannicaFacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagramPinterestLas Vegas lies only some 100 miles (160 km) east of Death Valley, one of the hottest and driest places in the country, with an average annual precipitation of only 4 inches (100 mm). The area has endured rainless periods of up to two years, although on average no year is without some precipitation. Most precipitation occurs in the winter months, when cooler ground temperatures allow moisture-laden clouds from the Pacific Ocean to cross the mountain barrier that normally produces a rain shadow. When rain does fall, it can be torrential and can trigger highly destructive flash floods.City layoutThe old downtown at the centre of the city became overshadowed in the 1950s by the Strip, the portion of Las Vegas Boulevard (and adjoining side streets) running some 4 miles (6 km) to the southwest, where the city's mostostentatiousand luxurious hotels, restaurants, casinos, and restaurants were built. The city spreads outward in all directions from Las Vegas Boulevard; the metropolitan area covers all of Clark county, a portion of Nye county to the northwest, and a small part of Mohave county, Arizona, to the southeast. It includes the incorporated areas of Boulder City, Henderson, and North Las Vegas as well as the unincorporated areas of Paradise, Winchester, Spring Valley, Lake Mead Shores, and Sunrise Manor. These areas are joined by several arterial roads, including the Bruce Woodbury (Las Vegas) Beltway, a ring road through the Las Vegas Valley. Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas. Charles Zachritz/Shutterstock.com Las Vegas is an amalgamation of many neighbourhoods. One of the more unusual is the plannedcommunityof Summerlin, partly outside the city limits. Built on land that was originally purchased by the wealthy industrialist, aviator, and motion-picture producer Howard Hughes in the 1950s, Summerlin was later developed beginning in 1990. About half of Las Vegas's population lives in single-family homes located in ethnicallyhomogeneouscommunities . Another large segment lives in apartments and town houses, many in developments built around golf courses, artificial lakes, and greenbelts that stand in sharp contrast to the tawny desert beyond. Housing development under construction near the Strip (background), Las Vegas, Nev. APPeopleBritannica Lists & QuizzesMusic QuizFundamentals of Music Theory Part 2Arts & Culture List10 Angry Young MenScience QuizGroundwater QuizHistory ListBefore the E-Reader:7 Ways Our Ancestors Took Their Reading on the GoFrom its first settlement by Mormons in the mid-19th century, Las Vegas has been populated predominantly by people of European (white) ancestry. Some three-fourths of the population is white. Only a small proportion of the population today is Mormon. About a third is Roman Catholic, and there is a sizable Jewish minority. Hoover Dam and Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border. Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images Several hundred Chinese immigrants were drawn to the region in the mid-19th century to help build the railroad that would join Las Vegas to other cities in the mountain region and on the Pacific coast. About the same time, Basque sheepherders came to the area, introducing an Iberianculturequite distinct from that of Spanish-speaking Mexicans living there. African Americans arrived in the 19th century, most of them as cowboys and seasonal ranch workers, and their numbers grew in the years during and after World War II, when many were stationed in the area for military service or arrived to work in defense-related industries.African Americans nowconstitutea substantial minority, more than one-tenth of the city's population. Hispanics account for more than one-fourth of the total, many of them recent immigrants from Mexico and Central America who work largely in the service sector. Relatively small numbers of Asians and Native Americans round out the city's ethniccomposition , as do Pacific Islanders, who moved to Las Vegas in such numbers that many Hawaiian immigrants refer to it as the 'ninth island.'Ethnicdiscriminationwas common in the city's earlier days but has subsided somewhat since the late 1960s. Few African Americans or Hispanics worked on the Hoover Dam project during the 1930s, even after the federal government ordered theconsortiumbuilding it to halt such discriminatory practices; those who were hired were employed only as common labourers. Jim Crowsegregation practices were introduced in Las Vegas in 1947 as a means ofplacatingthe city's growing white tourist clientele; only one casino, the Moulin Rouge, which was partially owned by the African American heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, was open to both blacks and whites. The rest of the city's casinos voluntarily desegregated in the mid-1950s, but de facto segregation existed elsewhere in Nevada until the mid-1960s. In 1968 Governor Paul Laxalt initiated several far-reaching reforms that were meant to ease growing ethnic tensions. Even so, race riots broke out in 1969 and 1970. From the early 1970s to the early 1990s, Las Vegas schools employed acomprehensivedesegregation plan. Although school desegregation experienced setbacks after the plan was disma
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"Orthodontics Align Crooked Teeth and Boost Self-esteem
Orthodontics are often necessary to help improve the stability, function and health of an individual's teeth; otherwise, many people would be at higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss because of improper teeth positioning in their mouth, according to an article in the January 2006 issue of AGD Impact, the newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).
""Orthodontics can make people feel better about themselves,"" says AGD spokesperson James G. Richeson, Jr., DDS, FAGD. ""Many patients, prior to orthodontics, smile with their mouth closed, because they are self-conscious about their teeth, but after orthodontics, they usually smile naturally, showing off their new look.""
General dentists can assess a child's need for orthodontics or alternative treatments. A dentist usually recommends braces to improve a patient's physical facial appearance. Through orthodontic treatment, problems like crooked or crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position and disorders of the jaw joint can be corrected.
Alternative orthodontic treatments have long been available but may not always be as comprehensive as orthodontics. Space maintainers help maintain space for adult teeth and can prevent complications and the need for more orthodontic therapy. Removable computer-generated appliances can treat selective cases in which orthodontics would otherwise be needed, but these appliances also may cost more. Removable appliances that use wires also are available but their use depends on the complexity of the case and what needs to be achieved in the movement of the patient's teeth. A palatal expander is often used in cases where the upper arch isn't spreading as wide as it needs to, says Dr. Richeson, and such an appliance is utilized to expand that arch. The palatal expander is best used while a child is still growing, usually between ages 8 and 10.
""By age 7, a child will have started to get adult molars in place, and the position of these and the primary teeth provide the child's general dentist with a good perspective of the development of the child's dentition and any need for orthodontics,"" explains Dr. Richeson.
Depending on their postgraduate education, some general dentists may provide orthodontic services, or a referral to an orthodontist may be recommended
Benefits of braces:
Improved stability, function and health of teeth
Decreased risk of gum decay, tooth decay and tooth loss
Improved self-esteem for the patient
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