Straight teeth and a beautiful smile are just a small part of a healthy mouth. Most traditional orthodontic treatments focus on these elements of dentistry and often overlook the development of the jaw. And underdeveloped jaw can cause big problems to surface. Four of the biggest problems that occur when the jaw does not develop fully during the formative years include:
These may not seem like major problems at first glance, but all can lead to bigger issues such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and TMJ disorder symptoms. Facial growth treatment provides an innovative approach to overall jaw and mouth health and it provides balance, alignment and a more attractive smile and face shape.
Epigenetics is defined as the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. An easier way to think of it is the process of using modifications to turn genes ‘on’ and ‘off’. What does this mean for jaw development? It means that with the use of an oral appliance we can stimulate the jaw to develop to its full genetic potential. A fully developed jaw allows for improved airways, healthy temporomandibular joints and better posture and stability. By opening up the jaw to its full development we create room for better tongue placement. As a result, patients’ breathe better and their likelihood of needing teeth extracted for orthodontics is often eliminated. This is due to the space created to move teeth to their intended position in the now fully developed jaw.
By far the best time to start treatment is during the developmental years as its easiest to make changes while things are still growing and moving. Ideally, we like to see patients around age 7 or 8 to begin planning the best course of action. However, teens and adults have seen tremendous success beginning treatment later in life. Patients who would make good candidates for facial growth treatment include those with jaw pain from TMJ disorders and those with obstructive sleep apnea symptoms or diagnosis. In addition, these symptoms are worth evaluating for the potential for facial growth treatment as well: