Here at Dr. Christopher Moore & Associates, we are always looking to bring the best and most diverse range of solutions to our patients, particularly in areas of dentistry that are still seeing new developments. Our Peterborough orthodontics clinic employs some of the latest and most advanced techniques, such as integrating functional orthodontic therapy into our work.
Functional therapy is a relatively new area of childhood corrective dentistry, and many of our newer Peterborough orthodontics patients haven’t heard of it. So, we wanted to talk about it in this blog, and how it’s one part of our overall orthodontics work.
What Is Functional Orthodontic Therapy?
Functional orthodontics are based on the idea that many factors influencing tooth growth and the shape of a child’s mouth are environmental, rather than being strictly dictated by genetics. So, the idea behind functional orthodontic therapy is using behavioral modification along with physical appliances -as needed- to modify a child’s mouth and jaw, reducing later dental problems. When appliances are used, they’re generally guiding the development of the jawbones to help improve tooth growth and alignment.
As a simple example: It’s commonly agreed that thumb-sucking among children with their permanent teeth can cause orthodontic problems later. Therefore, if you stop the child from sucking their thumb early in life, you’ll improve their overall dental future.
What Forms of Functional Orthodontic Therapy Does Dr. Christopher Moore Use?
Much of functional orthodontics boils down to talking with parents and children about how the child is using their mouth, and encouraging behaviors which will not cause problems later. However, there is an appliance side to functional orthodontic therapy as well. This centers on guiding the development of the upper and/or lower jaw, as well as making room for all of a child’s teeth to properly grow in.
Some of the appliances we use include:
- MARA appliances: These are non-removable appliances that treat underbite. They attach to the upper and lower molars in the back, which guide the jaw forwards whenever the mouth is closed.
- Twin Block appliances: These guards attach to both the top and bottom of the mouth, custom-fit to guide the jaw to prevent either over- or under-bite.
- Bionator appliances: These focus on the tongue, because improper use and positioning of the tongue is believed to influence mouth development. It guides the tongue towards optimal development.
In other cases, we may also use expander devices which fit into the top of the mouth, pushing the upper jaw outwards. This helps to make room for more teeth, potentially preventing impacted molars or wisdom tooth issues.
Does Functional Orthodontic Therapy Replace Traditional Peterborough Orthodontics?
No. Traditional and functional orthodontics are generally deployed side-by-side. Use of functional orthodontics can sometimes prevent the need for braces, but not always. Often, they’re used in cases where braces are not enough to provide proper tooth alignment.
Does My Child Need Functional Orthodontic Therapy?
The only way to know is through clinical examination. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment!