When Braces Are Not Enough: Dentofacial Orthopedics
The teeth in your mouth are a complicated bunch. It’s not just one thing that causes them to go crooked, but a number of potential factors. Traditional orthodontics is mainly concerned with correcting teeth that grow in crooked, although the shape of your facial bones can also play a role in the appearance of your teeth.
An orthodontist that specializes in dentofacial orthopedics can tell how the shape of your jawbone and facial structure impacts your teeth. They are also able to identify and perform the proper solutions to correct facial bone structures, enhancing smiles for both developing children and fully-grown adults. Not all orthodontists have the skills to address dentofacial orthopedics. At our Los Angeles Orthodontist office, Dr. Partovi specializes in this area.
What Is Dentofacial Orthopedics?
After completing dental school there are 9 different specialties that a dentist can further their education in, one of these specialty areas includes dentofacial orthopedics. Orthodontics is primarily concerned with the movement and growth of your teeth, while dentofacial orthopedics is concerned with facial development and bone growth that impacts the shape and alignment of your teeth and jaw.
Dentofacial orthopedics uses a number of appliances to correct facial abnormalities that can impact the jaw and teeth. Appliances used to correct associated issues include traditional braces, as well as headgear and expanders. Surgery is also necessary at times, but typically only for adults. This is because children’s facial bones and jaws are not fully developed, meaning they are still soft and pliable and can be adjusted without surgery.
Dentofacial Orthopedics For Children
By visiting your dentist early on, your child’s teeth have an extra special advantage. An orthodontist can assess the growth of their face, jaw, and teeth to determine when, and if, any treatments should be done. The earlier dentofacial orthopedics is addressed, the less invasive the available options will be.
Children that have not fully developed all of their teeth are considered to be in phase-one treatment. During this phase, the jaw and facial bones can be aided to grow in a different way that aligns the teeth and jaw. Since the jaw is not fully-grown the materials are still soft and easy to work with. This allows certain dental tools to be utilized that help shape the facial bones as they grow. Once your child’s facial bones are in the correct alignment, phase-two of orthodontics treatment begins. Phase-two typically includes straightening teeth with braces.
Dentofacial Orthopedics For Adults
While dentofacial orthopedics is common in children, it is also used to treat adults. As an adult the processes are different because an adult jaw has already fully developed and hardened into place. In order to change the shape or formation of adult facial bones, surgery is usually required.
Once facial bones are repositioned, your jaw and teeth will be in a more efficient, and aesthetically pleasing, position. At which point, braces are often applied to correct crooked teeth. While it might sound like a bit of a process, the end results can be truly life changing.
Dentofacial Orthopedics At 360 Orthodontics
Dentofacial orthopedics grants children and adults the chance to achieve a truly perfect smile. Having this specialty in her tool belt allows Dr. Partovi to work on many different dental issues patient’s face. This offers convenience as well as advanced knowledge to benefit your overall orthodontics treatments.
To learn more about dentofacial orthopedics and to score a perfect smile, contact our family-friendly office today!