While most people associate orthodontics with braces, many are uncertain about what dentofacial orthopedics is. Dentofacial orthopedics is the specialization in guiding facial growth and development– in other words– your jaw development. Your jaw develops mostly during your childhood; that’s why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends dentofacial orthopedic treatment for children from 8 to 12 years old. It is not uncommon for adults who have experience dental changes to also undergo treatment.
Common reasons for getting jaw alignment treatment includes:
- Underdeveloped lower jaw
- Protrusion of upper teeth
What to Expect
Getting treatment can be a daunting experience for both children and adults when you don’t know what to expect. By understanding what we use and how we apply the use of orthodontic appliances, you can get a better idea of what to expect.
You may get either fixed or removable orthodontic appliances to correct your jaw alignment. Fixed orthodontic appliances are normally glued to your teeth with cement, while removable appliances can be taken off. The benefit of fixed appliances is that once they’re on, you can practically forget about them in between check ups. With removable appliance, it requires you to wear them consistently as instructed.
You may feel some discomfort while your jaw adjusts to the appliance, but it is important to follow the treatment as planned. Doing so will give you the best results and may also shorten the time that you need to have them on. It takes about a month to adjust to the feeling of a new appliance in your mouth and on average 12 months to correct your jaw issues.
Types of Orthodontic Appliances
The type of appliance used to ensure proper growth of your jaws is different for everyone. Most of these dentofacial orthopedic appliances involve attaching metal pieces to your teeth to hold it into place.
1. Bite Corrector
To correct malocclusions, where your upper and lower teeth aren’t aligned when you bite, oftentimes we’ll use a bite corrector in combination with braces. A bite corrector uses permanent metal bars and enclosed springs to apply pressure to your upper and lower jaws.
To guide your lower jaw to grow proportionately to your upper jaw, we may use a retainer called a Bionator. It is a removable piece that can be worn both day and night.
3. Herbst® Appliance
To remove an overbite, we can use a Herbst appliance to hold your mandible, lower jawbone, forward. This involves using permanent metal pieces attached to your upper and lower molars. We can also widen your jaw with the Herbst using expansion screws.
4. Palatal Expansion
To fix crossbites, the Palatal Expansion attaches to the upper-back teeth and widens the jaw. They can be either fixed or removable.
5. MARA appliance
To reduce an overbite, the Mara appliance can be used to push your mandible forward. In this case, crowns, which cover your whole tooth, are placed on your top and bottom molars and are connected with a metal elbow.
To guide your jaw and teeth to grow into an ideal position, we may suggest using a headgear. Headgears are removable, made up of a stainless steel facebow and fabric safety strap. We fix permanent metal bands to your upper-back teeth, where you attach the facebow, and the safety strap secures the facebow around your head.
See a Dentofacial Orthopedics Specialist Today
Now that you are more familiar with the appliances used for dentofacial orthopedics, you can visit us and inquire about your treatment plan.