You may have noticed that we specialize in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. And while most people we talk to have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title. Today, Dr. Kevin Kelleher and our team thought we would explain the difference.
While orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and facial development, which occurs for the most part during childhood, and is a reason why kids are often the best candidates for receiving dentofacial orthopedic therapy. Dr. Kevin Kelleher will examine and monitor your child’s growth to determine when starting treatment will be most effective. If your child begins orthodontic treatment before his or her adult teeth have erupted, it is known as Phase-One treatment. During this phase, Dr. Kevin Kelleher will use treatments designed to correct your child’s jaw growth and make sure that the jaw bone is properly aligned before beginning the next phase of treatment, which usually involves placing braces to straighten your child's teeth.
Dentofacial orthopedics is also used to treat adult patients at Kelleher Orthodontics, however, this process may involve surgery. With our younger patients, we know the jaw bones are still forming, making it easier for our team at Kelleher Orthodontics to control bone growth and tooth movement. Adults, however, are a different story; their bones are no longer growing, and their jaw bones have hardened, so it is more difficult to adjust the bite and move teeth into proper alignment. Dr. Kevin Kelleher may recommend surgery to adjust the jaw bone and establish the proper bite alignment before beginning treatment.
Because our team at Kelleher Orthodontics is skilled in both areas, we are able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.
We hope that helps! To learn more about dentofacial orthopedics, and to find out if this type of treatment is right for you, please contact our Midlothian, VA office and schedule an initial consultation for you or your child. It’s never too late to get a great smile, and we can’t wait to help you or your child get started.