What Problems Does the Functional Orthodontics Treat?
We first compare the conventional orthodontic treatment to the functional orthodontics:
There is a huge difference between conventional orthodontics and functional orthodontics. Orthodontics is treatment of just straightening the teeth whereas functional orthodontics is reshaping and repositioning of the upper and lower jaws as well as straightening the teeth. Obviously, functional orthodontics is more complicated and challenging. Functional orthodontics stimulates growth in upper and lower jaws using removable appliances (functional appliances). Functional orthodontics can enhance facial appearance if fully implemented and done correctly. It can also improve the harmony between facial components. Functional orthodontic treatments result in best outcomes before puberty.
Functional orthodontics is able to resolve many medical problems.
Functional orthodontics can alleviate problems such as:
Temporomandibular disorders, migraine headaches, neck- shoulder-back pains, dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing problems, upper airway obstruction, mouth breathing, sleep disorders/sleep apnea, and other problems.
There are many examples of problems associated with facial skeleton disharmony and medical problems. For example, individuals with narrow mouths often have narrow and compressed sinuses. By expanding the mouth with functional orthodontic appliances, the sinuses also expand, allowing more efficient airflow.
Treatment of a small lower jaw with functional orthodontics
If one has a small weak or underdeveloped lower chin and jaw, he or she needs a stronger chin. Oftentimes, the weight of the upper jaw, and the excessive contact between the upper jaw and the lower jaw harms the lower jaw joints. This can cause temporomandibular disorders, migraine headaches, clicking of the joints, and many other symptoms. In severe cases, damaged jaw joints can lock preventing the mouth from opening normally. The lower jaw can be moved forward with the help of functional appliances. These appliances stimulate the growth of the lower jaw. Functional appliances are big removable appliances used for correcting both jaws.
Inability to breathe effectively causes sleep apnea
A weak jaw can cause pressure on airways inside the throat, and the inability to breathe effectively can usually cause sleep apnea and sleep disorder. Upper airway obstruction/ mouth breathing can cause sleep disorder/apnea in both children and adults.
Poor respiration and poor oxygen exchange can cause less concentration of oxygen in the circulatory system. As a result, the heart must work harder in order to bring enough blood and oxygen to vital organs such as the brain. This can cause individuals suffer from various diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Over time, the heart enlarges causing a condition called cor pulmonale. Many of these individuals die from a heart attack in their sleep. Sleep apnea can, not only negatively affect the general wellness and the quality of life, but can also reduce life expectancy on the average of 8 years.
This can threat the lives of children with mouth breathing problems who usually have sleep disorders too. In addition, sound sleep is crucial for growth and well being of children. Growth hormones are produced during deep sleep, the delta phase sleep. Without proper sleep, children are mostly small and weak. Poor sleep can also result in inattentiveness and poor academic performance. This condition will be well resolved with the treatment of respiratory problems in children. Using orthopedic treatments, the respiratory problems in children can be easily resolved before puberty by correcting the jaws.
Functional orthodontic treatment of a small jaw
Many patients look for an orthodontic treatment because of their crowded, crooked, and overlapped teeth. This happens when you inherit a small jaw from one parent, and huge teeth from another parent. In this case, you will face two points of view. Your dentist believes that your small jaw has genetic reasons, and the shape of the mouth should not be changed. Therefore, he or she will extract 4 teeth from your mouth.
Your orthodontist has another point of view. He or she recommends the functional orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist believes that your facial skeletal structure can be transformed to an ideal and harmonious shape and position. When the jaw widens, there will be more room available inside your mouth, so the teeth will be repositioned throughout the new space without extracting any tooth, and they will be adjusted from the center later with orthodontics. With functional orthodontics, and by repositioning the upper and lower jaws, the facial appearance comes more close to its ideal form, significantly affecting the well being of the joints.
The long-term use of functional orthodontic appliances, of course before puberty, can help reposition the lower jaw forward, leading to a more efficient airflow and more oxygen circulating through the circulatory system.