At Guildford Orthodontic Centre, dentofacial orthopedics – the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood – is an important part of what we do.
Every orthodontist begins his or her studies in dental school. Upon completion, many graduates begin to practice as dentists immediately. Some, however, opt to pursue a dental specialty, which requires additional training and schooling over a two- to three-year residency program.
The American Dental Association sanctions 9 different dental specialties. Some you are likely to have heard of, such as Pediatric Dentistry (dentistry for children), Periodontics (focused on the gums), and Oral Surgery.
Another of the dental specialties is a little less well-know: Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. You're probably aware that an orthodontist straightens teeth, and in fact, 'ortho' comes from the Greek word for 'straight' or 'correct', and 'dontic' comes from the Greek word for 'teeth'.
Dentofacial is a combination of the Greek words for 'teeth' and 'face'. 'Ortho', as you know, means 'straight', and 'pedic' is the Greek word for 'child'.
In essence, orthodontics involves the management of tooth movement, whereas dentofacial orthopedics is the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs mostly during childhood.
In both cases, appliances are usually used; braces for orthodontics, and for orthopedics, other specialized appliances like headgear and expanders.
Sometimes orthopedic treatment may make take place in anticipation for conventional braces, but generally speaking, the two take place simultaneously.
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