Orthodontics can accomplish more than just straight teeth. Functional orthodontics can improve the appearance of a person’s profile–you can avoid having a weak or receding chin. It can improve a person’s ability to breathe clearly, reducing the risk of snoring or sleep apnea. It can also improve a person’s bite so that there’s less risk of developing TMJ and other bite problems. Best of all, this can all be accomplished with minimally invasive approaches–there’s no need for surgery in most cases.
Benefits of Functional Orthodontics
Functional orthodontics offers many benefits above and beyond straight teeth. With functional orthodontics, we can achieve:
- Balance between the upper and lower jaws
- Improved facial appearance
- A healthy bite
- An open airway
- Results without surgery or tooth extraction
One of the key problems facing children as they grow is that their jaws aren’t developing in balance. One jaw is typically developing more than the other. With functional orthodontics, we can expand the jaw with deficient development to match the more developed jaw. This improves the appearance of a weak chin, receding chin, or jutting chin.
It also results in a more healthy bite. A healthier bite reduces the risk of developing TMJ or other bite problems.
The jaw isn’t just for biting and chewing: its functions also include providing a support for your airway. Ensuring the development of a healthy airway can improve breathing at all times, and it can reduce the risk of sleep apnea.
And one of the most important benefits of functional orthodontics is that it can achieve results without the need for tooth extraction or jaw surgery.
What Is Functional Orthodontics?
Functional orthodontics focuses on the way that function determines form in the human jaw, and vice versa. It strives for proper function of the jaw to create an optimal jaw form that in turn propagates healthy function.
Neuromuscular dentistry teaches that the jaw is a complex system made up of many interrelated components, such as muscles, bones, jaws, teeth, nerves, and more. This system isn’t static–it evolves over time, especially when a child is growing–and the changes in the system are governed in large part by these relationships. In other words, the action of the muscles influences the development of the jawbone, and vice versa. Functional orthodontics leverages these relationships to control these changes and create a healthy result.
Leveraging these functional relationships is what allows us to achieve dramatic results with minimal intervention. Partly, this is done by intervening at an early age–as young as four. Then we can use low-force techniques to help the teeth move into position as the jaw develops into its appropriate shape. But functional orthodontics can be used for children of all ages.
ControlledArch is a new expansion of the functional orthodontics philosophy. It’s designed for use in children and adults to alter the dimensions of the jaws. This not only makes room for all your teeth, it can improve the appearance of your face by balancing the upper and lower jaws.
Whereas some orthodontic approaches struggle against your body’s natural developmental pathways, ControlledArch is designed to enhance your body’s development. The goal is to help your body achieve its natural genetic potential. Using this scientific approach, we can not only straighten your teeth and improve your facial appearance, we can do it in less time than required for traditional orthodontics.
Fixed and Removable Appliances
Traditional orthodontics leans heavily on fixed appliances. These are braces that are bonded directly to teeth. With functional orthodontics, we will often utilize removable appliances. This makes treatment more flexible and more comfortable. But it depends on the wearer to actually keep their appliance in long enough to achieve the desired results.
Fixed appliances are also available. These are bonded directly to the teeth so that they are constantly in place. Fixed appliances reliably achieve their desired results.
Which type of appliance is best in your case depends on your lifestyle, your commitment, and your treatment goals.
Will You Need Braces after Functional Orthodontics?
Not always. Functional orthodontics may be conducted in multiple phases. If the initial phases serve to develop the jaw sufficiently that teeth naturally move into place, it might be possible to avoid braces altogether.
However, in some cases a second phase is necessary to ensure a straight smile. This may be traditional braces or a different form of orthodontic treatment.
It’s not always possible to predict which approach will be best in your case.
If you would like to learn how functional orthodontics can help you, please call (914) 332-4402 today for an appointment with a Westchester County dentist at Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown.