Dentofacial Orthopedics

What is Dentofacial Orthopedics?

You may have noticed that Dr. Irving Eckstein and Dr. Azariy Yusupov specialize in “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many can be confused by the “dentofacial orthopedics” part of the title. We can explain!

Every orthodontist has a foundation in dentistry by completing 4 years of dental school. Upon completion of dental school, some graduates immediately go into practice as general dentists. Others choose to pursue a dental specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two- to three-year residency program. There are nine specialties sanctioned by the American Dental Association. Some you are likely familiar with are Pediatric Dentistry (dentistry for children), Periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and Oral Surgery.

One of the nine specialties is “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” You probably know that an orthodontist straightens teeth, and indeed: “ortho” comes from the Greek term for “straight” or “correct,” and “dontic” from the Greek term for “teeth.” But what about dentofacial orthopedics? “Dentofacial” is “teeth” plus “face” while “ortho” again means “straight” and “pedic” is from the Greek term for “child.”

Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. In both cases, appliances are frequently used. The most familiar appliance is braces for orthodontics. Other specialized appliances, called functional appliances (Rapid Palatal Expanders, Herbst Appliance, Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance known as MARA, and the Modified Tandem Appliance), are used depending on what facial abnormalities are present. Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are accomplished at the same time. So if your child gets braces and a functional appliance, he’s undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics!

Because Dr. Irving Eckstein and Dr. Azariy Yusupov are skilled in both areas, they are able to not only diagnose malalignment in the teeth, but in the jaws as well. Using their training they can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.