Dentofacial Orthopedics

You may have noticed that our doctor specializes in “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are puzzled by the “dentofacial orthopedics” portion of the title. We can explain!

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 dental specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two- to three-year residency program. Nine specialties are sanctioned by the American Dental Association. Some you are likely familiar with are Pediatric Dentistry (dentistry for children), Periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and Oral Surgery.

One of the nine specialties is “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” You probably know that an orthodontist straightens teeth. Indeed, “ortho” comes from the Greek for “straight” or “correct,” and “dontic” from the Greek for “teeth.” But what about dentofacial orthopedics? “Dentofacial” is “teeth” plus “face,” while “ortho” again means “straight,” and “pedic” is from the Greek for “child.”

Essentially, orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, and dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. In both cases, appliances are frequently used — the more familiar braces for orthodontics, and other specialized appliances, like headgear and expanders, depending on what facial abnormalities are present.

Sometimes, orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are applied at the same time. So if your child gets braces and headgear, he’s undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics!

With skills in both areas, the doctor can diagnose any misalignments in the teeth, jaw, and facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.

Welcome to EMBRACE IT!

You’re on your way to a healthy, beautiful smile that all your friends and family will admire! When you get your braces, it will be very important to keep your teeth clean—really clean. So make sure you use the tools and products in your Crest Oral-B EMBRACE IT! program. The booklet will tell you how to brush, floss, and rinse the way we talked about. And don’t forget to keep looking at your Score Your Smile Card! That way you can see for yourself just how great you’re doing.

At each visit, we’ll check your oral health and let you know how well you’re doing. We’ll also tell you whether there are any areas that you need to work on.

EMBRACE IT! is the oral health program designed just for you—and we want to see you succeed. If you ever have any questions about your oral health program or your braces, please be sure to ask someone at our office or visit the site designed just for you. When it comes to your healthy, beautiful smile, we’re on your side!