Dentofacial Orthopedics

You may have noticed that Dr. Baughman specializes in “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” Though most people have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title. We can explain!

Following graduation from college, every orthodontist enters dental school. Upon completion of dental school four years later, some graduates immediately go into practice as dentists. Others choose to pursue a dental specialty, which requires an additional two- to three-year residency program in an accredited university program.

Nine specialties are accredited by the American Dental Association. Some you are likely familiar with are Pediatric Dentistry (dentistry for children), Oral Surgery, Periodontics (dentistry that concerns the gums and other bony support of the teeth), and Endodontics (root canals).

One of the nine specialties is “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. Just as an orthopedic surgeon in medicine corrects problems of the bony skeleton and muscular attachments, dental orthopedics corrects poor relationships of facial bones and jaws.

In orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, appliances are frequently used — the more familiar braces for orthodontics, and other specialized appliances like headgear and palatal expanders and cemented or removable functional appliances, 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 headgear, he or she is actually undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Because Dr. Baughman is skilled in both areas, he is able to diagnose any malocclusion of the teeth as well as improper facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatment to optimize the result.