Functional Orthodontics Versus Traditional Orthodontics

Functional Orthodontics

This is a very interesting branch of orthodontics that most people have not heard about. Functional orthodontics consists of not only straightening a persons teeth, but repositioning the upper and lower jaws to create a better profile.

If there is a weak chin or misalignment of either jaw the bite will be thrown off. This could lead to producing migraines, neck and shoulder pain, dizziness, sleep apnea, hearing problems, TMJ, upper airway obstruction and poor facial profiles.

Functional orthodontics approaches straightening teeth in a different way. Instead of pulling crowded teeth the jaw is expanded to make room for them. When appliances are worn to widen the jaw, both upper and lower, it makes for a more balanced profile. It also helps to expand the sinus and to correct sleep apnea or breathing problems.

With the non-extraction technique which uses expansion appliances to widen the dental arch in patients. You can achieve great results. However, these appliances are non removable and must be kept in place to be effective for a specified time. Some patients have issues with this. But the results are well worth the effort involved.

Traditional Orthodontics

Traditional orthodontics uses the extraction technique to provide more room in the mouth to straighten teeth. Usually its the bicuspids that are extracted and although room is made it leaves the face narrow. Extractions can also lead to a flattened facial profile that cannot be changed later.

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. Dental braces in general are made to help a patient whether an adult or child to have straighter teeth. Dentists have found that if the appliance is removable children will do just that and the results will be compromised.

Orthodontic Treatment

Over time there has been new information about ways to treat dental abnormalities. There are obviously different approaches and you will need to assess what is right for you or your child. Know your options before you take that first step.

The growth of a child’s face may require you to decide due to the over crowding of their teeth. No one wants their child to face surgery. This functional orthodontics option is a way to handle all of the issues of over crowding without blood.

Things to Look For When Deciding

* Does your child have a narrow face compared to their friends? Skeletal genetics such as big bones or small are not the issue. Looking at the child’s face does it seem pointy or recessed near the chin?

* When turned sideways can you lay a pencil on the forehead and is it aligned with the chin. No concave appearance you are looking for a well formed profile.

* Is your dentist open to using the functional orthodontics in his dental practice? The education of patients is one of the most important jobs of a dental office.


There are two schools of thought:
* Functional Orthodontists believes that abnormal dental features are caused by environmental factors, not genetics. Therefore there is a strong belief by these dentists that these can be changed without surgery.

* Traditional orthodontists believe that abnormal dental features are purely genetic and need surgery or extractions to correct it.

There are different approaches to the same problem. So it is up to the parent to choose. But there is something to keep in mind when deciding. Traditional Orthodontics gives you straight teeth. Functional orthodontics gives you a beautiful face and straight teeth. The choice is yours.