SCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ CA
Jaw size has a lot to do with your dental health, looks, and overall well being. An underdeveloped jaw may result in disorders such as TMJ, sleep apnea, and cause an unfavorable appearance due to crooked or protruding teeth. If the upper or lower jaws have not grown to their full potential, it may result in an overbite, underbite, recessed chin, mouth breathing, or lack of jaw definition.
In the past, jaw surgery was the go-to solution to correct these appearance issues. While surgical treatment for an underdeveloped jaw is still in practice today and proven effective, it comes with a cost – significant downtime and discomfort. What if we told you that you don’t have to resort to jaw surgery? Instead, dental science has introduced facial growth guidance, also known as physiological orthodontics, ideal for adults seeking to improve their teeth and bite alignment without having to undergo surgery. Scotts Valley neuromuscular dentists Drs. Max and Ariana Ebrahimian offer physiological orthodontics to correct crossbites, underbites, and overbites.
What makes facial growth orthodontics different?
Many people are unfamiliar with facial growth orthodontics, although they know traditional orthodontics means – getting braces. There are significant differences between the two. Traditional orthodontics aims to shift teeth into alignment, yet doesn’t address the underlying problem – an underdeveloped jaw. Therefore, orthodontic relapse is likely among patients with underdeveloped jaw problems.
Instead, facial growth orthodontics focuses on encouraging nasal breathing and establishing proper lip seal and tongue posture (where your tongue rests when not in use). These three components are known as the “big three,” which are crucial for facial development, and overall wellness. Patients with an underdeveloped lower jaw often exhibit open mouth posture with the tongue resting low in the mouth (instead of against the upper palate), lips gaping open, and mouth breathing. These issues are corrected by wearing an anterior growth guided appliance (AGGA) that encourages the body’s natural ability to stimulate the bone in the entire mid-face.
What causes a jaw to become underdeveloped?
An underdeveloped jaw could be the result of an untreated tongue-tie, tongue thrust, reverse swallow, prolonged pacifier or thumb sucking, mouth breathing, or improper rest oral posture (the mouth gapes open when at rest). If one of the “big three” components is interrupted, the lower jaw or upper dental arch may not grow to its potential. An underdeveloped jaw not only affects facial asymmetry, and your looks, but also your health by increasing your risk of sleep-breathing disorders and more. While facial growth orthodontics works well for adults, the earlier the issues are caught, the better. Early orthodontic intervention in Scotts Valley helps by encouraging jaw growth while a child is growing. It is also beneficial for adults. Treatment may look different for each patient, but the focus is to ensure proper jaw growth, palate expansion, and tooth alignment.
Benefits of Facial Growth Guidance
- Improved Breathing – Mouth breathing is dangerous for your health. It results in low oxygenation in the blood, which impedes the entire body’s health. Chronic mouth breathing also leads to gulping air, dries out the mouth, and an abnormal jaw and palate growth. Nasal breathing is preferred because the nasal passages are designed to filter and warm the air as you inhale. It requires proper rest oral posture (with lips closed, teeth together, and the tongue resting along the upper palate).
- Correct Lip Seal – This has to do with how your mouth is when at rest, as in not eating or speaking. In cases of an underdeveloped jaw, correct lip seal may be difficult, if not impossible. Facial growth guidance helps train the lips to remain sealed when at rest.
- Ideal Rest Oral Posture – Tongue positioning when at rest is an essential part of breathing correctly and maintaining overall health and wellness. The tongue should rest along the roof of the mouth. A low lying tongue rests at the bottom of the mouth while the lips and teeth are gaping open, results in mouth breathing and a narrow upper palate.
Additional Benefits Include:
- Bone remodeling and development behind the canine teeth, which improves facial appearance
- Fully developed cheekbones
- Wider airway, less risk of developing sleep breathing disorders
- Defined chin, no more “turkey neck”
- Look younger without undergoing a facelift
- Alter nose shape
- Beautiful, healthy smile with straight teeth
How Facial Growth Guidance Works
Scotts Valley dentists offer Orthotropics®, which involve prescribing a specially designed oral appliance that is to be worn for a set amount of hours each day, and sometimes while sleeping. The appliance applies light pressure on the upper palate’s nerves, which signals the body to stimulate and remodel the jaw bones and bones of the mid-facial region.
Traditionally, palate expanders are used to apply pressure to align teeth. This method generally works for children, although it could be dangerous for adults as it could cause teeth to loosen or lead to the loss of gum tissue. Adults in need of upper palate or jaw expansion should consider functional orthodontics in Scotts Valley.
What can facial growth guidance correct?
This form of orthodontics can correct the following dental issues:
- Facial pain
- TMJ disorder or jaw joint disorder pain
- Poor oral posture
- Chronic, frequent headaches
- Airway disorders
- Sleep-breathing disorders
- Premature wrinkles or signs of aging
Orthotropics® in Los Gatos, Scotts Valley, and Santa Cruz
Only a trained practitioner of Orthotropics® can use these specialized techniques to encourage your full genetic facial growth, without requiring surgery, in most cases. If you are looking for alternatives to jaw surgery, or what you should know before getting jaw surgery, consider scheduling a consultation with Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry by calling (831) 438-4411. We serve the communities of Los Gatos, Scotts Valley, and Santa Cruz.