Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws, and misaligned bite patterns. Abnormal alignment of the teeth and jaws is common, with some statistics showing that nearly 50% of the population has malocclusions severe enough to benefit from orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics more classically involves the use of braces that are bonded to the teeth. These braces allow us to control the teeth more accurately so that we can fine tune their relationship to one another and create that beautiful smile.
Orthopedics is a type of orthodontic care which focusses on early treatment in an effort to assure more favorable facial growth and jaw structure in children and adolescents. Statistics indicate that only 18-20% of malocclusion in children is genetic, which implies that the remaining 80% of poor bites arise due to environmental factors, such as poor tongue position, mouth breathing, allergies, or enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
As these influences act upon the developing lower face almost from birth, it is important to try to and counteract these negative influences early and allow for more normal development. Well timed functional therapy can have an astounding influence on your child's development, often discouraging mouth breathing, poor sleep habits and a slow physical growth pattern. Functional orthopedics is usually therapy of short duration, may involve removable appliances and may even make more extensive therapy such as braces unnecessary.
Functional Orthopedics are a great way to help younger patients avoid many of the conditions that have plagued their parents, such as, poor sleep habits, T.M.J. pain, sleep apnea, small lower jaws ( weak chin profile ), and proud upper teeth (buck teeth) that may lead to poor self-image.