At Apex Dental, Dr. Mindy’s approach to orthodontic treatment goes far beyond the teeth. We strongly believe that beautifully straight teeth look best when they fit the smile and the face around them.
By idealizing the jaw form, we avoid extractions by making space for all the teeth to fit beautifully. Idealized jaw form means a well developed face, as the jaw bones make up the lower half of the face (Note the maxilla in yellow and the mandible in white).
This comprehensive approach allows for a more ideal and stable orthodontic result as well as an aesthetically pleasing face and profile. The ultimate goal is a broad, beautiful smile AND the lifelong health benefits of a healthy airway and TMJ. We invite you to contact our office at (515)224-1618 to learn more about the benefits of facially focused orthodontics, by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Mindy Richtsmeier.
How Is Facially Focused Orthodontics Different?
Crowding is the most common issue in what people deem to be a “bad bite”. It is very important to recognize that crowding is NOT a problem of too many teeth! Crowding is the direct result of improper jaw development.
In conventional orthodontics, problems of crowding, overbite, and underbite are often addressed with extraction of permanent teeth. The remaining teeth are then retracted (or moved backwards) in the mouth. While this makes it easy to align the remaining teeth, it worsens the root cause of crowded teeth. Jaws that were already too small are now smaller. This can have tremendous effects on facial esthetics, as well as on the health of the TMJ and the airway behind the jaws.
Treatment of the source of the problem (the underdeveloped jaws) results in not only the best esthetic outcome, but also the healthiest result. The goal is nice wide jaws with a full set of teeth. Enhanced development of the maxilla brings with it a full smile, improved lip support, more natural position of the mandible, a better profile, and a more open airway behind it, With all of this comes much lower risk of sleep apnea and TMJ disorders.
Dr. Mindy utilizes a number of different removable appliances, selection based on each particular case, to develop faces and jaws to their full genetic potential.
* Photo courtesy of aljabri.com
Let’s have a look at the two ladies in the photo. It is notable that both ladies have straight teeth, but note the differences in the face. Jaw development has tremendous effects on cheekbones, the jaw line, the nose, lips, and profile.
On the Left: Jaws are underdeveloped and recessed, or set back in the face. Cheek bones are flat and barely evident. Lips are thin due to inadequate support from the recessed jaws. The nose has a “hump” due to the nasal cartilage developing backward to the recessed jaw position. The set back jaws shrink the airway space behind them. The high angle of the mandible is a great risk for TMJ dysfunction.
On the Right: Jaws are fully developed. Cheek bones are prominent. Lips are full with ideal support from properly positioned jaws. The nasal cartilage is ideally positioned, giving a pleasing nose profile. Forward position of jaws leave wide airway space behind them. Angle of the mandible more conducive to healthy TMJ.