You may have noticed that our doctors specialize in “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title.

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 specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two- to three-year residency program. There are nine specialties sanctioned by the American Dental Association. Some you are likely familiar with: pediatric dentistry (dentistry for children), periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and oral surgery.

Orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement while dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development.

Coro Orthodontics takes Dentofacial Orthopedics to a whole new level. Our treatment approach allows us to not only align the teeth, but also align the jaws in cases that would normally require surgery to align.

Our teeth and jaws (The Masticatory Organ) play an important role in our overall health. Our body is a very complex “machine” with a myriad of organs and tissues that must function conjointly and in harmony for ideal health.

Having nicely aligned teeth provides a beautiful smile, which in turn promotes self-confidence and a positive self-image. We express our feelings and emotions with our smile, which is immensely important in our social interactions and communication. But just as important as a nice smile is the proper function of bite (occlusion).

Obviously, one of the main purposes of the “masticatory organ” is chewing our food. Our digestion begins when we can properly chew our food in an efficient and proper manner. This begins with a proper functional occlusion.

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints that connect our jaw to our head and can pose countless dysfunctional problems. Earaches and headaches along with neck pain and clicking sounds in the joint are common. Unlike other joints in our body the TMJs are not load bearing and merely act as “guides” to jaw movement. A good functional occlusion begins with proper vertical support for the joint, thus avoiding compression that leads to dislocation and degenerative changes to the bones.

The masticatory organ also plays a vital role in our emotional well being as a stress relieving mechanism. We all clench and grind (bruxism) during sleep. Numerous studies confirm that this action helps to lower stress levels and helps maintain normal blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate. Without a proper functional occlusion, damage can occur to the teeth, the bone, supporting structures and the TMJs.

Narrow dental arches and improper jaw position can also disturb our sleep due to improper tongue posture that affects our airway. An improper occlusion can cause an alteration in jaw position that can influence our overall body posture as our body compensates for an improper jaw and headposture.

Being skilled in both areas, our doctors are 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.

More importantly, a beautiful smile is not always a functional bite, but a functional bite is always a beautiful smile.