FACE, JAW, AND AIRWAY FOCUSED ORTHODONTICS
Most people associate orthodontia with the application of braces to correct crooked teeth, especially in children. Dr. Shirazi, however, treats a wide variety of conditions in people of all ages WITHOUT BRACES.
WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL ORTHODONTICS?
Functional orthodontics is a form of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Technically speaking, these problems are classified as “malocclusion,” or having a bad bite. Dr. Shirazi is a skilled orthodontist in the design, application, and control of corrective appliances, such as ALFs, functional appliances, and braces to bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve facial balance, TMJ stabilization, and an open airway.
Malocclusions are either inherited or acquired. Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents (called “trauma”), sucking of the thumb, finger or pacifiers, tonsils, and adenoids that obstruct the airway, and disease or premature loss of primary or permanent teeth.
Inherited malocclusions are largely determined by such attributes as tooth and jaw size. For example, people can inherit large teeth and small dental arches, or the reverse. A “poor bite” is often caused by teeth that have too much or too little room in the jaw. Other common causes of crooked teeth are factors that move the teeth out of place, including oral habits and early tooth loss, which leads to tooth shifting.
Regardless of whether malocclusions are inherited or acquired, many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but also facial development, TMJ health, and appearance as well.
Most cases of malocclusions are mild, or cosmetic, in nature; for example, a poor bite does not cause severe impediments to talk or eat. In some people, however, the condition is so severe that they cannot eat or speak properly.
A poor bite does not ordinarily cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, or temporomandibular disorder (TMD). It may, however, make it difficult to properly care for one’s teeth.
Although a majority of the population has some type of malocclusion, not all people require or seek orthodontic treatment. For example, with or without a history of orthodontic treatment, 65% of adults develop crowded, crooked lower front teeth. This is a natural result of change over time and does not necessarily require orthodontic treatment.
SYMPTOMS THAT TRIGGER ORTHODONTICS
If you or your child has any of the following symptoms, have your general or pediatric dentist evaluate whether a poor bite may be responsible:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tongue thrust
- Tongue-tied and/or difficult speech
- Crowded or crooked teeth
- Difficulty chewing because of tooth pain or difficulty aligning teeth
- Facial or jaw pain
- Permanent teeth developing in an abnormal position
- Constantly biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
Dr. Shirazi explains how he treats orthodontics in the most gentle and natural way to get fantastic results that not only look good but aid the body in functioning properly!
ALFS: ADVANCED LIGHT WIRE FUNCTIONALS
The purpose of Advanced Lightwire Functionals (ALFs) is to orthopedically move structures of the oral cavity using minimal force (comparable to that created by the tongue) without occupying a great deal of space in the mouth. In doing so, the ALF expands the maxilla to allow a greater capacity of oxygen to enter the nasal cavities and trainsthe tongue to swallow in a proper manner so that the new position created by orthopedic expansion is maintained after its use is discontinued.
BENEFITS OF ALF
We can close gaps in the teeth, for the best aesthetic result possible without surgery.
SPACE OUT CROWDED TEETH
We can straighten crowded teeth with or without braces! You can even have it corrected while you sleep, without having to wear anything during the day!
Even the most difficult looking teeth are treated without having to extract any teeth!
For children and adults, we can often expand the dental arches, so that even braces are not necessary.
Adults also can benefit from non-extraction expansion for the optimum in facial and dental aesthetics. Over 95% of the patients treated at the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre never need to have extractions.
When the designer of the ALF appliance, Dr. Darick Nordstrom, introduced the appliance in the early 1980s, he quickly realized that his patients were experiencing relief from other health issues that had initially appeared to be unrelated. These included:
- Allergies resulting from restricted nasal airways
- Clenching and grinding of teeth
- Developmental delays such as childhood learning problems due to decreased blood flow to the brain
- Digestive problems
- Ear problems (ringing or humming sounds in the ears, decreased hearing ability)
- Headaches (including migraines)
- Neck and back pain resulting from misaligned vertebrae and nerve impingement
- TMJ (jaw joint) dysfunction with pain and restrictions of movement
- Vision problems (blurred vision, strained eyesight)
ORTHODONTICS FOR AIRWAY
One of the many benefits of orthodontics and dental orthopedics is an increase in total oral volume (airway). The tongue, the major culprit in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), will block the airway by moving backward toward the throat during sleep when there is not enough room for it in the mouth. By orthodontically creating space for the tongue and training it to swallow properly, the airway’s total volume greatly increases. Coupled with an increase in the nasal airway from orthodontics, the body is provided steady air intake and increased oxygen supply to the body.
Many patients with difficulty breathing through the nose prior to therapy have found relief with this process, both during and after treatment. Our office uses a rheometer, which sends sound waves down the airway, to detect the size of the airway and quantify the increase in the air intake.
Dr. Shirazi’s “Shirazi Liners” are clear aligners that are hypo-allergenic. Many of the aligners on today’s market cause negative reactions in patients due to the chemicals they are made of and the process they undergo in order to be made. Our aligners are safer and less likely to have a reaction when they come in contact with saliva or other liquids.
TMJ and Sleep Therapy Centre’s “Shirazi Liners” not only correct the teeth and bite cosmetically but also gently move the teeth and bones to guide the tongue into a normal and consistent swallowing pattern. For those that grind or clench their teeth at night, we can combine the Shirazi Liners with comfortable night appliances.
For more information please visit our DENTAL ALIGNERS page.
DEFINITIONS OF ORTHODONTIC TERMS
- Class I Malocclusion – the bite is aligned (your top teeth line up with your bottom teeth) but teeth can be crooked, crowded or turned
- Class II Malocclusion – the upper teeth stick out past the lower teeth (also called an “overbite” or “buck teeth”)
- Class III Malocclusion – the lower teeth stick out past your upper teeth (or “underbite”)
- Occlusion – the alignment and spacing of your upper and lower teeth when you bite down
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