Dentofacial Orthopedics

You may have noticed that our doctor specializes in “orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.” While most people have heard of "orthodontics", many are confused by the "dentofacial orthopedics" part of the title.

Every orthodontist starts out in dental school. Upon completion of dental school, some graduates immediately go into practice as general dentists. Others choose to pursue a specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two or three year residency program. There are nine specialties sanctioned by the American Dental Association, some of which you are likely familiar with: pediatric dentistry (dentistry for children), periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and oral surgery.

“Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics” is one of these nine specialties. Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs mainly during childhood. Appliances are frequently used - the more familiar braces as well as other specialized appliances like headgear, functional appliances and expanders depending on what facial abnormalities are present. Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are done at the same time. So if your child gets braces and headgear, he's actually undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Being skilled in both areas, our doctor is 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.