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Dentofacial Orthopedics

Young girl smiling in dental chairWhat if you could reshape your jaw and facial structures before alignment issues occurred or prevent breathing problems like sleep apnea? Dentofacial orthopedics is a mouth full, but the treatment is rather simple. We use a variety of appliances, surgical techniques, and orthodontic treatments to guide the dentofacial structures into their ideal positions, so patients can speak, chew, breathe, and smile comfortably. While this advanced set of procedures is not necessary for everyone, research shows that as much as 75% of the US population would benefit from dentofacial orthopedic therapies. With those numbers, it’s no surprise that skilled orthodontists like Dr. Marissa Mikolich are dedicated to studying these treatments and the patients who may experience significant improvement in quality of life. If you’d like to find out more about dentofacial orthopedics, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The Mikolich Orthodontics team welcomes patients from Canfield, as well as surrounding Ohio towns including Salem and Columbiana.

Smiling young boy in dental chair

Who Should Consider Dentofacial Orthopedics?

We typically like to begin dentofacial orthopedic treatment when the bones are still in the midst of the development process. Children and teens are the most often treated patients, and we can use dentofacial orthopedics to help these young patients in a variety of ways. However, adults who have trouble speaking, chewing, swallowing, or breathing may also benefit from these treatment options. Regardless of age, patients with any of the following concerns should talk to Dr. Mikolich about dentofacial orthopedics:

Smiling girl giving thumbs up in dental chair

Treatment for Kids and Teens

For most patients, dentofacial orthopedics is a combination of Phase 1 and Phase 2 orthodontics. Phase 1 orthodontics occur prior to the eruption of the adult teeth, and they help create optimal conditions for young people to develop ideally aligned smiles. We’ll want to see your child for an orthodontic evaluation (typically referred by your general or pediatric dentist) around the age of seven. At this point, we’ll be able to develop a complete picture of how the oral and facial structures are forming and where they may benefit from intervention. As the bones and tissues in the face are still forming, dentofacial orthopedic intervention makes it possible for us to begin reshaping the facial structures while they’re still malleable which is much more comfortable for patients. Following this early intervention, we will likely still need to use braces or oral appliances to continue correction, but this process will be much more comfortable.

Adult man smiling in dental chair

Adult Treatment Options

Typically, dentofacial orthopedic treatments for adults require surgery. The fully developed adult mouth and facial structures are harder to shape, and the oral appliances and orthodontic treatments that are possible for young patients are not typically effective for adults. These treatments may involve breaking and resetting bones, using hard or soft tissue grafts to alter the shape and size of facial structures, and aligning the bite with braces and/or orthodontic appliances.

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