Guiding Facial Growth in Children

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Dentofacial orthopedics is the guidance of facial growth in children, and helps to lessen the need for, or even avoid, more invasive orthodontic treatment later in life.


You may have noticed that Orthodontic Specialist members of the BC Orthodontics Group also specialize in "Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics." While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are unfamiliar with the "dentofacial orthopedics" part of the title.

We can explain!

Orthodontic Specialties

Every orthodontist starts out in dental school. Upon completion of dental school, some graduates immediately go into practice as dentists.

Others choose to pursue a dental specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two- to three-year residency program. There are nine specialties sanctioned by the Canadian Dental Association.

Some you are likely familiar with are Pediatric Dentistry (dentistry for children), Periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and Oral Surgery. 

One of the nine specialties is "Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics."

What does "dentofacial orthopedics" mean?

 You probably know that an orthodontist straightens teeth, and indeed: "ortho" comes from the Greek for "straight" or "correct," and "dontic" from the Greek for "teeth." But what about dentofacial orthopedics? "Dentofacial" is "teeth" plus "face" while "ortho" again means "straight" and "pedic" is from the Greek for "child."

Dentofacial Orthopedics, BC Orthodontics

What is dentofacial orthopedics?

Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. In both cases, appliances are frequently used – the more familiar braces for orthodontics, and other specialized appliances like headgear and expanders depending on what facial abnormalities are present.

Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are accomplished at the same time. So if your child gets braces and headgear, he's undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics!

Because our orthodontist members are skilled in both areas, they're 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.

Children should be examined by an orthodontist for the first time at no later than the age of 7, to determine whether or not they need interceptive treatment. Book a no-obligation consultation at one of our BC practices today.


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