In addition to traditional orthodontic practices (braces), Dr. Eric Koch of Family & Implant Dental Care in Jasper, Texas, offers an alternative, functional orthopedic treatment to his young and even not-so-young patients. Functional orthopedic treatment is a new approach to straighten teeth and realign jaws. In a two-method procedure, using fixed and removable dental devices, Dr. Koch's functional orthopedic treatment helps younger patients achieve beautiful, wide smiles during their developmental stages, and even though the adult facial structure and bone structure are fully developed, functional orthopedics has had great success in improving smiles for adult patients, as well.
What is Functional Orthopedic Treatment?
In the dental Industry, functional orthopedics considers the jaw alignment, the tooth relationship, the muscle relationship, and the head and neck posture as a whole system – not as separate entities requiring separate treatments.
What does Functional Orthopedic Treatment mean to Me?
What this means to you is that during your routine dental examination, Dr. Koch will evaluate your upper and lower dental arch to determine if they are too narrow and constricted. Additionally, he will determine if your airway creates any breathing problems, if your tongue has posturing problems, if your tooth positioning is a problem, or if your jaw posturing poses any problems or any head and neck problems. Once Dr. Koch completes his thorough examination, he will discuss with you his recommended dental treatment: functional orthopedics or traditional orthodontics.
The Difference between Functional Orthopedics and Traditional Orthodontics
- Fixed appliance orthodontics or traditional orthodontics (braces) requires Dr. Koch to bond brackets to each of your teeth. Once the brackets are in place, he then adds wires that connect the brackets to create forces that through adjustments move your teeth to straighten them.
- Unlike the bonded brackets, functional orthopedics use sophisticated, removable appliances that work with specific muscle forces to move your teeth. As progressive as a treatment this may seem, the use of removable appliances is not new; dentists in Europe have been using them since the 1920s.
- Most times, traditional orthodontic treatments occur later in life with more extractions of teeth, creating narrower smiles.
- Functional orthopedic treatments begin earlier in life when problems are recognized. The functional orthopedic process works to accommodate teeth to fit, resulting in broader smiles.
The In's and Out's - Literally:
- The Out's - Traditional orthodontic methods sometimes include the removal of your natural teeth to achieve a straight smile; however, Dr. Koch, along with a growing number of dentists, prefers to preserve your natural teeth when possible. Yet, for many years, the traditional method for remedying cramped and protruded teeth included early extraction of baby teeth. Next, well-meaning dentists would then extract the adult premolar or bicuspid teeth to allow more space for their patients' teeth to straighten, leading to noticeably smaller dental arches and obviously smaller narrower smiles.
- The In's - Functional orthopedic treatments are increasing; therefore, the need to remove teeth is decreasing. Dr. Koch and the staff at Family & Implant Care work diligently to create optimum dental health for their patients, and preserving natural teeth is a high priority. Everyone's dental issues are different, but one common thread that holds dental patients together is the desire to maintain and retain their natural teeth. Most times, functional orthopedics offers this option. Sometimes, in rare instances, for your functional orthopedic treatment to be successful, Dr. Koch may need to remove teeth – sometimes.
- Based on your age and your dental exam, Dr. Koch will advise you which orthopedic treatment is right for you. What you need to consider though if you potentially can have or have crowded or protruded teeth is how you are going to achieve your winning smile: functional orthopedics or traditional orthodontics? The decision is yours.
What are the Advantages of Functional Orthopedics?
Functional orthopedics offer both aesthetic and functional advantages, as follows:
- The process wholly treats the patient considering the facial structure, jaw alignment, placement of the teeth, head and neck posture, and the connecting muscles.
- The process creates a broader, smile, along with an improved facial profile.
- The process maintains facial balance as the patient grows.
- The process alleviates TMJ.
- The process creates stable results.
- The process lessens tooth removal, if any.
- The process allows for devices that are easier to clean and maintain.
- The process uses devices that are less obvious than braces.
- The process allows easy removal of the device to play sports or musical instruments.
- The process can begin at an early age (3 to 8 years old).
What are the Disadvantages of Functional Orthopedics?
Sometimes we are our own worst enemies when it comes to our dental health. Functional orthopedics requires a degree of self-discipline and cooperation from the patient. A plus of functional orthopedics is the use of the removable appliances; however, if a patient does not have self-discipline to wear the appliances as instructed, wears them sporadically, or keeps them in their storage container, then, they will not work, and success is limited.
Family & Implant Dental Care recognizes that choosing functional orthopedic treatment is a serious decision. To help you determine the treatment plan for you or your child, Dr. Koch or one of his friendly staff will help you to compare the methods of treatment and recommend the right choice based on your desired dental outcomes. Just remember that functional orthopedics offer a broader, more beautiful smile.