Functional orthodontics for kids, teens, and adults
Most people have never heard of functional orthodontics. This fascinating branch of orthodontics approaches straightening teeth differently. Instead of pulling crowded teeth with wires or pushing crowded teeth with clear aligners, the jaw is expanded to make room for them. Also, functional orthodontics repositions the upper and lower jaws to create a better profile.
What's the difference?
Here’s the difference: traditional orthodontics is focused only on straightening teeth. Functional orthodontics is a twofold, whole-patient approach with an emphasis on orthopedics. This focus includes improving a patient’s airway and bite (occlusion). Achieving straight teeth through traditional orthodontics is the secondary focus of functional orthodontics. Before any traditional orthodontic treatment begins, functional orthodontics addresses the following orthopedic aspects of the patient’s overall health:
In cases where the actual shape of the dental arch is too narrow to allow alignment of the teeth or proper support of the muscles and joints, we use removable appliances to expand and lengthen each arch slowly. This expansion results in space for the teeth and allows the lower jaw to come forward if needed.
After addressing these developing orthopedic aspects, any necessary traditional orthodontic treatment to straighten a patient’s teeth can begin. Depending on the individual, clear aligners or traditional braces may be used to complete final tooth rotation and alignment into a beautiful, straight smile.
There is no age limit on an orthodontic correction. And while it is true that the teeth can move more quickly in children and teens, adults of all ages are not excluded from the benefits that orthodontic treatment can provide.
There continues to be new information about ways to treat dental abnormalities. We pride ourselves on staying educated on the latest advancements in this field.
There are two schools of thought:
These are different approaches to the same problem. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose, but here is something to keep in mind when deciding: traditional orthodontics gives you straight teeth, while functional orthodontics gives you a beautiful face and straight teeth. The choice is yours!