Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area. Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.
There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech and a more pleasant smile. Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven. There are some skeletal problems in children that can be treated as soon as they are diagnosed (class III skeletal) or any problems that negatively affects a child’s breathing or cranial system. The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved. Earlier treatment, can also allow the child to resume normal growth patterns.
The following are the most common problems that can be treated with orthodontics.
- Anteroposterior deviations – The discrepancy between a pair of closed jaws is known as an anteroposterior discrepancy or deviation. An example of such a discrepancy would be an overbite (where the upper teeth are further forward than the lower teeth), or an underbite (where the lower teeth are further forward then the upper teeth).
- Overcrowding – Overcrowding is a common orthodontic problem. It occurs when there is an insufficient space for the normal growth and development of adult teeth.
- Aesthetic problems – A beautiful straight smile may be marred by a single misaligned tooth. This tooth can be realigned with ease and accuracy by the orthodontist. Alternatively, orthodontics can also work to reshape and restructure the lips, jaw or the face.
- Myofunction problems– mouth breathing, tongue thrust, nasal disuse syndrome, empty Nose syndrome are all problems that can be treated with orthopedics and myofunctional therapy.
We also work to treat common problems that can be treated with Dental Orthopedics. Orthopedics simply put is changing the size, shape, and relationship of the bones of the face and jaws to create symmetry and balance. The simple concept of Orthopedics suggests that dental overcrowding is not due to there being too many teeth, but to the fact that facial growth has not reached its full genetic and growth potential. It takes into consideration airway issues, upper and lower jaw relationship and proper tongue position.
The two most common and biggest misdiagnosed problems are below:
- TJMD – Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), more commonly known as your jaw joint, allows you to open and close your mouth as you chew, speak or swallow. When unaligned the bones of the skull and jaw grate against each other causing various degrees and locations of pain. Orthodontic appliances to regrow and reshape the jaw bone and keep your jaw in the new correct position.
- Sleep Apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by continuous obstruction of the upper airways narrowing the respiratory passages. There are certain oral appliances that can reposition the lower jaw and open up the respiratory passage. Development of the jaws with orthopedics can also alleviate OSA in children.
Orthodontics and Dental Orthopedics are both a technologically advanced field which offers many sophisticated solutions to malocclusions and other cosmetic problems. Dr. Lindsey will generally perform a visual examination, panoramic x-rays and study models (bite impressions) in order to assess the exact nature of the discrepancy.
When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic and orthopedic treatment options available. With a thorough diagnosis, Dr. Lindsey will treat the bones, muscles and teeth to develop a healthier cranial system for your lifelong enjoyment.
Here is an overview of some of the most common treatments:
The Myobrace® System consists of a series of removable intra-oral pre-orthodontic appliances that are worn for one to two hours while awake and overnight while sleeping. The Myobrace® System works by correcting oral dysfunctional habits, developing and aligning the jaws, and straightening teeth. It can also help improve overall health by promoting nasal breathing and healthy eating habits. The Myobrace® Activities are the educational component of this system and include a series of exercises to further help in the correction of the dysfunctional oral habits. To learn more about Myobrace®.
ALF intra-oral appliance
The Advance Lightwire Functional intra-oral appliance (ALF) addresses the alignment of the bones using principles of cranial osteopathy. Like no other orthodontic appliance, the ALF contributes to the physiological motion within the cranial and facial structures. This motion can facilitate the whole body’s inherent healing potential and contribute to the improvement of physiological functions like breathing. The ALF also addresses the dental arches form and development. With wider dental arches it is easier to achieve a physiological tongue resting posture which provides continued support to the dental arch. Treatments with the ALF appliance can prevent orthodontic teeth extractions and other oral-facial surgical procedures.
We prefer to use braces only as a finishing touch to detail align teeth after or at the end of a myofunctional orthodontic program and/or ALF appliance to attain additional teeth alignment if necessary. Time with braces is shorter after the myofunctional orthodontic program and/or the ALF appliance has been used.
An alternative to braces for finishing alignment when necessary. As with braces, time in treatment is shorter after the myofunctional orthodontic program and/or the ALF appliance has been used.