Orthodontic treatment doesn’t just correct crooked teeth. There’s a lot more to it than that. Jaw abnormalities are a big part of the field of orthodontics, and it’s important to take these issues seriously as they tend to have a big impact on everyday life. In not addressing certain issues with the structure of our mouth, it can set us up for much discomfort later in life. When it comes to these structural issues, your orthodontist may recommend dentofacial orthopedics. What is dentofacial orthopedics? Let’s discuss what it is, who it helps and when it should be considered in your treatment plan.
About Dentofacial Orthopedics
Dentofacial orthopedics addresses facial growth and development, with treatment mostly occurring during childhood when the bones are still growing. This specialty practice seeks to correct the imbalances of the teeth and jaw bones, so the top and bottom jaws line up properly. This can alleviate problems, such as:
- Facial structure abnormalities
- Difficulty chewing
- Breathing problems
- Pain and discomfort
- Uneven tooth wear
In addressing the issues with the jaw early, orthodontists can correct these problems more easily than with those who choose to wait. That’s why it is recommended to perform treatment while the bones are still developing, making young children the best candidates for dentofacial orthopedics. It’s typically recommended to be seen by an orthodontist around age seven to begin early orthodontic treatment if it is needed for the best results.
Dentofacial Orthopedic Treatment
Treatment is usually performed in two phases. Phase One aims to correct the abnormalities of the jaw prior to the permanent teeth erupting. One of the appliances used to manipulate the upper jaw is an expander. It is used to widen the upper jaw help the upper and lower dental arches line up properly. Headgears are also used commonly during Phase One treatment to help facilitate in moving jaws to reduce or increase overbite. Phase Two is performed once most of the permanent teeth are in place and normally utilizes braces to help fix any issues with the alignment of the teeth. Your orthodontist will need to perform a full evaluation to discern when treatment should begin, and which treatment methods will be the most effective.
Candidates for Dentofacial Orthopedics
Although children are considered to be the best candidates for treatment, adults can benefit from treatment as well. Keep in mind that it is much more difficult to treat jaw abnormalities in adults, due to the fact the bones have finished growing and are firmly set in their positions. Most often, surgery is recommended to treat these issues in adults. In some cases, surgery combined with braces is the way to achieve proper results in adult patients.
It’s important that you don’t wait when it comes to issues with the jaw. In addressing them early, you’re able to alleviate substantial discomfort and difficulties later on in life. Even though you may not be experiencing any discomfort now, it doesn’t mean it won’t become a problem later. Tackle these issues as early as possible, so you can ensure your jaw is operating properly and your smile is at its absolute best.
At Charleston Orthodontic Specialists, our team is excited to help you on your journey to a spectacular smile! Call (843) 4-BRACES to get started with us.