Why Two Phases of Treatment?

You may have noticed that Drs. Louie and Mah specialize in "Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics." While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are unclear as to the "dentofacial orthopedics" part of the title.

You likely know that an orthodontist straightens teeth. These terms are derived from Greek. The following outlines the meaning of these words.

“Ortho”  Straight or correct

“Dontic”  Teeth

“Dento”  Teeth

“Facial”  Face

“Pedic”  Child

Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement to make “straight teeth,” dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood, as this is time that we can use a patient’s growth to their advantage. Corrections of the jaws cannot be achieved without surgery once a patient has finished growing.

In both cases of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, appliances are frequently used – the more familiar braces for orthodontics and other specialized appliances like headgear and expanders depending on what facial corrections are required. Orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are accomplished in conjunction. Thus, if your child gets braces and headgear, he or she is undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics!

At Innova Orthodontics, Drs. Louie and Mah are able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth as well as the facial structure and will develop a customized treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments. As a result of the stage of skeletal or dental development, this can mean that treatment may be divided into two phases – first, the correction of the facial structure while the face is still growing and then second, the correction of individual teeth position once all the permanent teeth have come in. While we do our best to keep the length of treatment as compact as possible, if the teeth are very late in coming in, treatment sometimes does need to be in two phases.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatments or how they can benefit you, please contact our office, Innova Orthodontics.



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