You may have noticed that Dr. Willes specializes in “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title.
Every orthodontist starts out in dental school. Upon completion of dental school, some graduates immediately go into practice as dentists. Others choose to pursue a specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two- to three-year residency program.
Nine specialties are sanctioned by the American Dental Association. For example: Pediatric Dentistry (dentistry for children), Periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and Oral Surgery, etc.
“Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics” is one of the nine specialties. Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. “Appliances” like braces are frequently used as well as other specialized appliances like expanders, depending on what facial abnormalities are present.
Sometimes, orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are used at the same time. So if your child gets braces and an expander, he or she is actually undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.
Being trained in both areas, Dr. Willes is able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can recommend a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic modalities, to create the best dental health and facial aesthetic possible.