Everyone would like to have a smile they were proud of and could feel confident with. Sometimes there are a few different ways of achieving this and depending on the patient's individual issues and concerns the most relevant treatment and possible alternatives will be explained.
Functional Jaw Orthopedics (Non-extraction Orthopedics) concerns itself first and foremost with the development of the jaws, getting both the upper and lower jaw to the correct size and shape so that all teeth can be accomodated. Getting the relationship between the upper and lower jaw correct is essential also. The lower jaw has a biologically comfortable position that should not stress either the jaw joint (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) or the muscles that operate the joint. Pressure in this area due to the lower jaw not being comfortable can have many consequences. The lower jaw normally sits inside the upper jaw when we close so it's vital that the upper jaw be developed sufficiently to allow the lower jaw close comfortably.
That's basically what Functional Jaw Orthopedic Treatment is concerned with: ensuring the jaws are developed adequately, hung correctly and that their movement is not interfered with by teeth in the wrong position.
Once the jaws are of right size and proportions it is usually possible to move and straighten teeth into position afterwards, as part of the treatment. Sometimes it's not necessary to proceed with the second phase of moving and straightening the individual teeth as once the jaws have been developed, there's a good chance nature will do a pretty good job from that point.
Development of the jaws is best done during the main growth phase from age 10-15 but can be done outside these ages and even into adulthood also. Usually removable appliances are used for this phase, most of which are light, well tolerated and not very visible. This phase may last from anything from 6 to 18 months.
The second phase of treatment - straightening and aligning the teeth - is done with orthodontic "train tracks". Having created the space for all the teeth first and using the lowest friction systems available means that this phase can be completed usually in 9 months or so.