Face, Jaw and Airway focused Orthodontics
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 skilled 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.
Most people associate orthodontia with the application of braces to correct crooked teeth in children. Dr. Shirazi, however, treats a wide variety of conditions in people of all ages with this technique.
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 talking or eating. 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
ALFs: Advanced Lightwire Functional’s
OrthodonticsThe purpose of Advanced Lightwire Functional’s (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 trains the tongue to swallow in a proper manner so that the new position created by orthopedic expansion is maintained after its use is discontinued.
Orthodontics for Airway
One of the many benefits of orthodontics and dental orthopedics is an increase of total oral volume (airway). The tongue, the major culprit in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), will block the airway by moving backwards 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 rhinometer, which sends sound waves down the airway, to detect the size of the airway and quantify the increase in air intake.
Case Study I: Crowded cases using the Damon Bracket System
Case Study II: Crowded cases using the Damon Bracket System
Case Study III: Adult Class II case using the Damon Bracket System
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