We all know that orthodontics entails management of tooth movement. However, what is Dentofacial Orthopedics? This field involves guiding the dental movements in order to rectify facial development. For this reason children are the best recipients of this treatment.
How will your doctor start Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment?
The doctor will first determine whether your child needs this treatment or not. In case he or she needs it, the doctor will examine his tooth structure. At the same time he will monitor your child’s natural growth and begin treatment when it will be most effective. In case the treatment begins before your child’s adult teeth have come out, it is known as Phase-I treatment. In this phase the doctor will use methods and treatments to correct your child’s jaw growth to ensure that the jawbone is aligned in a way that the next phase of the treatment can be started. The next phase usually entails putting braces around your child’s teeth to straighten them.
The orthodontist may use several types of examinations such as x-rays, bite impressions and visual examinations to determine what is best for you.
Is this treatment for adults?
Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment can also be used on adults but it often involves surgery. The jawbones are still forming in the younger kids and so it is easier to work with them and control their jaw movements. But with adults the bones have already grown and are mature. They have hardened so much that natural guidance of the bone structure is impossible. Hence in order to adjust the bite and aligning teeth in a proper way is difficult. In such cases the doctor may recommend surgery to adjust the jawbone and obtain proper alignment.
What problems Dentofacial Orthopedics can treat?
This form of dentistry can treat a variety of problems and in most cases it can help align the teeth completely. An orthodontist can either work alone or if the case is complex, he or she can work in combination with other orthodontists. Here are a few typical problems that can be corrected with this treatment:
- Overcrowding: Sometimes in adults the jaw is overcrowded, which means that there is not sufficient space for the teeth to fit in naturally. As a result teeth may get misaligned, displaced or rotated. This problem can be rectified with the help of Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment.
- Overbite: This is a typical problem that many adults face. This problem also gives a “toothy” appearance to the patient. In this the maxilla or the upper jaw protrudes over the mandible or the lower jaw. As a matter of fact it looks as if the chin has receded. Again, this problem can be corrected with the help of Dentofacial Orthopedics.
- Underbite: This condition is typified with protrusion of lower jaw over the upper jaw. In such cases the chin looks very dominant. The usual causes of underbites and overbites are genetic abnormalities and developmental delays. But this condition can be treated with the help of Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment.
- Sleep apnea: This condition causes the patient to snore. In this the soft tissue of the posterior part of the mouth falls backwards and cause restriction of air passage to the lungs at night. Sleep apnea results in reduced levels of oxygen reaching lungs. It also causes daytime drowsiness.
- Malocclusion: Also called as improper bite such a condition can impact clarity of speech, your chewing ability and facial harmony. If a patient is suffering from severe malocclusion, it can lead to serious problems like having difficulty in breathing, jaw joint disorders, tooth decay and other periodontal diseases. In order to avoid bad facial structure and expensive treatment later, it is better to seek Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment.
How can Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment help you?
This treatment employs several techniques that are aimed at aligning your teeth and jaws.
While surgery is an option, if necessary the orthodontist may use removable appliances to align your teeth. These appliances typically consist of metal wires that are based on an acrylic base. These appliances help in re-training your lips and tongue movement, swallowing and chewing. These guided movements help in training your nervous system to produce growth responses.
The treatment time depends a lot on your growth potential and severity of malocclusion. While some individual may respond readily, it may take time in others. In general an active treatment may range from one year to three years. However, patients who have mild problems may get treated earlier. The patients need to stay under orthodontist supervision for an additional one of two years after active treatment.