Many of our patients ask us what Dentofacial Orthopedics means. We hear you. Most people know what orthodontics is, but dentofacial orthopedics is less well-known, so it is time for an explanation!
Our orthodontist, Dr. Shannon Lewis, is a Board-certified orthodontist. Like her peers, she attended dental school, but rather than move into practice as a dentist, she chose to specialize in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, one of nine specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Upon completion of dental school, students apply for specialty programs and interview across the country for these highly competitive residency programs. In her program there were 4 openings for 1000 applicants! Then they complete two or three years of additional schooling. This enables them to practice.
Dr. Lewis chose to specialize in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Orthodontics involves managing teeth and guiding them into the correct position whereas orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics are concerned with the patient’s facial growth and development. It is a very specialized field and Dr. Lewis looks closely at the alignment of a patient’s teeth, as well as their dental arches. Abnormalities in the maxilla and mandible can have an effect on growing or mature teeth. Dr. Lewis can diagnose, prevent and correct malocclusion and abnormalities on orofacia structures. Orthodontists are the only dentists trained in the growth and development of the face, jaws and teeth.
Many of Dr. Lewis’s patients are children, as this is the optimum time to diagnose and correct abnormalities. She can guide your child’s facial growth and development to ensure he or she ends up with a perfect smile in adulthood. Although most growth and development occurs during childhood, adult patients can also be successfully treated.
After residency, orthodontists take a written exam and have the option of taking their own cases to be tested and reviewed by their peers in the American Board of Orthodontics. To assure that she had mastered her profession, she passed and is a Board-Certified Orthodontist. Dr. Lewis can give your teeth and face the best results possible without unnecessary phases and cost. She knows the best time to treat to get the maximum results!
All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists…Dentists can say they do the service of “orthodont(ics)” but cannot say they are “orthodont(ists)”. Often times these three letters are all the public have to go on to know if they are seeing a specialist. Dr. Lewis is a Board-Certified Orthodontist!
Braces are the main appliance in orthodontic work, but Dr. Lewis uses additional appliances when treating her patients. These can include appliances to stimulate lower jaw growth and expanders. The appliance used will depend on the nature of the facial abnormality present.
Sometimes, an orthopedic treatment plan will precede braces, but often the two treatment plans will run concurrently. Your child may have to wear an appliance to correct a misaligned jaw, as well as have braces fitted to move his teeth into place. If this is the case, it means your child is undergoing dental orthopedics as well as having orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Lewis is highly skilled in the orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics areas, so she can diagnose and treat all kinds of alignment problems with teeth and the jaw. She is also trained to spot facial structural problems and can devise a treatment plan that corrects a range of issues.
Regular orthodontists can only offer conventional braces to straighten teeth, but if your child has an underlying facial abnormality, you need a highly skilled orthodontics and dentofacial orthodontics expert. Dr. Lewis has many years’ experience in treating children and adult patients and she can help you achieve a perfect smile.
If you would like more information about braces, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, book a consultation with Dr. Lewis today.