When considering early orthodontic treatment for children, your orthodontist may recommend orthopedic treatment before braces. With dental orthopedics, the orthodontist uses specialized appliances such as the Herbst appliance or expanders to guide the growth and development of facial bone, which occurs during childhood. At the same time, dental braces and other ancillary appliances may be used to manage tooth movement, effectively addressing any facial bone discrepancies and dental problems.
Facial growth and development largely occur during childhood, which makes early interceptive treatment the best time to implement dentofacial orthopedics. After your child's first orthodontic visit, the orthodontist will examine and monitor the growth and development of your child's teeth, jaw, and facial structure to determine the best time to commence treatment.
If treatment begins before the permanent teeth begin to erupt (as is usually the case with interceptive early treatment), most of the procedures will be aimed at correcting jaw growth (phase I) to ensure proper alignment of the jaw bone before braces can be placed to straighten the teeth (phase II). Phase I is what we refer to as dentofacial orthopedics.
Dentofacial orthopedics may also be recommended for some adult patients. But with fully developed and hardened bones, the process will likely require surgery, which makes it significantly more involved and expensive.
For children, the treatment is not as complicated because the jaw bone and facial bones are still forming, which makes it easier to control bone and tooth development for bite adjustment and proper teeth alignment.
Because Olive Orthodontics specializes in both areas, we can diagnose any misalignments in your child's teeth and jaw, as well as any discrepancies in the facial structure, and devise a customized treatment plan that integrates dentofacial orthopedic and general orthodontic treatments.
For more information on dentofacial orthopedics and orthodontics, or to schedule your child's first orthodontic checkup, please contact our office at (314) 274-1477. It's never too late to try and improve your child's dental and facial structure for a great smile and confidence.