Orthodontists do more than just straightening and aligning teeth for their patients. In young children, if jaw structures are too small, resulting in teeth crowding or if one of the jaws is under-developed or asymmetrical, causing a mismatch of the jaws (thus mismatch of the teeth such as cross-bite or scissors bite) affecting normal functions and facial aesthetics, Dentofacial Orthopedic treatment is required.
The field of orthodontics that deals with the control and modification of facial bone growth is known as Dentofacial Orthopedics. It involves the process of normalizing the patient's bone structure and correcting anomalies in the face and jaws and typically begins when the patient is about 7-8 years old. Dentofacial orthopedics provides guidance to facial bone growth and development using special Functional Appliances.
Examples of Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment include Herbst Appliance (Fig. 4) and Twin Block Therapy which enhance the growth of the lower jaw for patients with diminutive lower jaw and Protraction Face Mask Therapy (Fig. 3) which helps to stimulate the normal growth of the upper jaw.
Maxillary Expander (Fig. 5), on the other hand, is often prescribed to manage small and constricted upper jaw.