Face First Ortho for Adults
“Dental” Growth Guidance
For years I have treated adults with head, facial, and jaw asymmetries. Years of experience and a couple thousand hours of advanced orthodontic education led to a simple diagnosis. Most if not all of the adult problems could be traced to the lack of awareness of discrepancies in growth that were occurring. These discrepancies come to light at various stages of growth and development from birth to 16 years old. There is a presumption that growth will occur and there was nothing that could be done until all the baby teeth were gone and then orthodontics could straighten the adult teeth.
This was not always the case and more often than not the adult dentition ended up like the pictures shown below:
Growth Guidance is the use of dental functional appliances to support proper growth and improve the growth direction of the Upper and Lower Jaws. This lateral force enhances the expansion of the Jaws which creates space for the permanent teeth to erupt without crowding.
Our birth and delivery is a traumatic event. The bones of the skull overlap to make the head smaller as it passes through the birth canal. The presumption is that these bones will reshape themselves after the delivery. Unfortunately this is not always the case. As an anesthesia resident at Long Island Jewish Hospital I would be called to the delivery room frequently. My function was to care for the mother and then make sure that the newborn had a good airway, a normal breathing rhythm, and not to assess the shape of the head. When my own mother was born, the bones of her head were so distorted that the midwife threw her on the bed with the comment “bad baby, let her go.” An aunt, unwilling to accept this diagnosis, reshaped the bones of her skull, and my mother grew up to have a long and healthy life.
“Were it not for this Aunt, I most certainly would have never been.” As a result of birth, which we all must go through, many of us wind up with minor to major asymmetries that affect the shape of our head and jaws. In my mother’s case, an Aunt was there to make some immediate corrections. She fixed a major asymmetry as one might mold clay. More often minor asymmetry, things that are not life threatening, are not recognized but none the less will cause challenges in the life of the child. The next issue that probably does the most damage to our growth and development and unfortunately affects us for life is bottle feeding.
Aberrant growth can be attributed to the COMMERCIAL introduction baby foof rmula. Breast Feeding was out and bottle feeding was in. (I was bottle fed and have a collapsed left upper jaw.). Suck on a straw or a pencil and feel the muscles of your cheeks contract. This contraction of the cheek muscles compromise the proper expansion of the upper jaw which then traps the lower jaw and it cannot come forward to its proper position. Bottle feeding contributes to the start of mouth breathing, improper tongue position, inadequate airway development, snoring, frequent colds, and tonsillitis. (My tonsils came out when I was four years old).
Breast Feeding causes the movement of the lower jaw forward and back which contributes to the physiologic development of the muscles of the face and neck. Breast Feeding contributes toproper tongue position, expansion of the upper jaw, and forward growth of the lower jaw. Suckling causes proper nasal breathing and the release of nitric oxide in the nasal passages. The inhalation of nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels in the lungs which enhances the absorption of oxygen that contributes to proper growth and development. This growth creates beautiful symmetrical faces.
Adult teeth start to erupt at 7 to 10 years old. Children begin to be independent and more responsible at 7-10 years old. (I was sweeping floors at the house my father was building at 5 to 6.) During the growth years of 7 to 10, youngsters can be counted on to wear these functional appliances and with the parent’s assistance, activate the appliances. Frequent visits to our office will allow us to supervise the use of the appliances and monitor the growth changes that occur.
Count the number of times you swallow in one minute. Every time we swallow our jaws come together to brace the swallow function. The functional appliances create light forces that direct the vertical forces of the bite ever so slightly in the horizontal direction. Over time the appliances create the expansion of the jaws to accommodate adult teeth as they erupt.
When I saw the changes in my adult patient’s dentition, smile, and most of all in their personalityand self-confidence, I knew I had the responsibility to provide this type of service to kids. Most general dentist do not learn much about orthodontics and thus would not be aware of these detrimental growth patterns. Our office has the expertise to see, diagnose, and treat these children. We provide the functional development treatment to intercept aberrant growth and hopefully prevent the problems that I have seen in adults.
Our Growth Guidance Goals:
- Expansion of the upper jaw to create space for all the adult teeth
- Improve the vital airway development
- Develop the nasal breathing habit
- Convert the fetal swallow to an adult swallow where the tongue initiates the swallow by its placement against the palate.
- Creating beautiful faces with movie star smiles