When you hear orthodontics, braces or straightening of the teeth may come to mind, however did you know that this field also includes dentofacial orthopedics? While orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development. It concentrates on improving the position and dimensions of the facial bones and jaw. Facial growth and development occurs for the most part during childhood.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child be evaluated no later than the age of seven. At that time, Dr. Navarro can examine and monitor your child’s growth and development to determine whether an orthodontic problem exists or is developing. Some orthodontic problems can be easier to correct if they are found early. At the examination, Dr. Navarro will be able to determine appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. Some early signs of orthodontic problems to look for in your child may include:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Crowded, misplaced or protruding teeth
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Upper and lower teeth that do not meet or meet in an abnormal way
- Jaws that are too far forward or too far back
If early treatment is indicated it can give Dr. Navarro the opportunity to:
- Guide jaw growth
- Eliminate skeletal facial asymmetries
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Improve the way the lips meet
If your child requires orthodontic intervention, Dr. Navarro can utilize various orthodontic appliances. Some of the more common appliances that our office utilizes are:
- Quad Helix appliance
The quad helix is a fixed appliance that works by slowly pushing the teeth out which eventually widens the upper arch. A quad helix expander is typically used for patients who have a narrow palate, a crossbite and/or crowded teeth.
- RPE (Rapid Palatal Expander)
The RPE is a fixed appliance which is used to expand the palate and to correct the bite. The goal with this appliance is to widen the maxilla (upper jaw), expand the dental arch, and move the teeth within the bone. Over time, the two palatal bones move apart and the jaw widens. It is typically used for patients who have a narrow palate, a crossbite and/or crowded teeth.
- Herbst appliance
A Herbst appliance is a fixed appliance that helps to line up your upper and lower jaws. This will help improve the way your teeth fit together. This appliance moves the lower jaw forward while putting backward pressure on the upper jaw.
- Class II and Class III Carriere Motion Appliance
The Carriere motion appliance corrects the sagital or back and forth misalignment of the jaws and teeth at the beginning of orthodontic treatment. This appliance moves the upper and lower teeth and may reposition the mandible.