Dentofacial Orthopedics

You may have noticed that our doctor specializes in “orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title.

Every orthodontist starts out in dental school. Upon completion of dental school, some graduates immediately go into practice as dentists. Others choose to pursue a specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two- to three-year residency program. There are nine specialties sanctioned by the American Dental Association. Some you are likely familiar with: pediatric dentistry (dentistry for children), periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and oral surgery.

With Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, ‘Orthodontics’ manages tooth movement, while ‘Dentofacial Orthopedics’ guides facial growth and development during childhood and adolescence. Appliances used to guide facial growth include palatal expanders and the Twin-Block functional appliance.  Sometimes orthopedic treatment precedes conventional braces, but often they are used simultaneously.  So if your child gets braces and a palatal expander together, they are actually undergoing orthodontics AND dentofacial orthopedics!

Being skilled in both areas, our doctor is able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.