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What is a Dentofacial Orthopedics?

img-dr-surriloSan Diego, CA – San Diego orthodontist Dr. Santiago Surillo specializes in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Most people know what orthodontics is, but what exactly is dentofacial orthopedics, and why is it important?

“Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics go hand in hand,” says the dually-certified Dr. Surillo, who is also a pediatric dentist. “When treating children, we often can’t have one without the other. Orthodontics is the process that guides the teeth to their ideal locations, and dentofacial orthopedics is what guides the growth and development of the face.”

In short, dentofacial orthopedics will help to normalize the growth of a patient’s bone structure, and repair any imbalances that are found in the face or jaw. Combined with orthodontic treatment, most candidates begin at a young age and undergo two-phases of treatment.

“During the first phase of treatment, we work to identify discrepancies in the way your child’s jaw is growing, and work to correct them,” says Dr. Surillo. “We can ensure that the jaw is properly aligned before we move on to the second phase, which is typically some form of braces.”

Children are the ideal candidates for dentofacial orthopedic treatment because their jaws are still growing and can be easily guided. But, that doesn’t mean adult patients can’t benefit from it, too. However, adults may require surgery to correct bone and facial discrepancies before straightening the teeth. Surgery can adjust the jaw to allow for proper bite alignment before braces are added to correct the tooth alignment.

“At Children’s Braces and Dentistry, we combine a pediatric dentistry practice with an orthodontic practice,” says Dr. Surillo. “We believe this benefits our patients because it allows us not only to create and nurture relationships from early childhood, but it allows us to monitor your child’s growth. Early detection of problems with your child’s dento-facial development can help us begin treatment at just the right time when it will have the most impact.”

Early detection of possible problems, paired with expert knowledge, can allow an orthodontist to prevent early problems from becoming worse over time. As your child grows, having the dual specialties of pediatric dentistry and orthodontics under one roof can ensure that your child will have the most accurate diagnoses and intervention for problems at the exact right time.

Paired with proper orthodontic treatment, dentofacial orthopedics can ensure your child has a beautiful, functional and properly aligned smile that can last a lifetime.