Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz, CA
Standard orthodontics focuses on straightening teeth, with treatment usually taking place during adolescence. However, practitioners of functional orthodontics like the orthodontists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry can achieve other goals, in addition to straightening your child’s teeth, that may benefit the health and well being of your child.
The principles of functional orthodontics
The philosophy of functional orthodontics entails using functional appliances that are used to guide the dental and skeletal structures into their ideal alignment, thus creating harmony throughout the orofacial complex. The principles of functional orthodontics were adopted primarily in Europe in the 20th century and were able to become more widespread in that continent due to the socialized medicine and dentistry common in many countries in Europe. Specifically, governments were seeking ways to treat their populations as economically as possible. As a result, it became popular to use removable appliances in orthodontic treatment, which were prescribed during childhood to influence facial and dental growth at an earlier stage. Taking this approach meant, ideally, that permanent teeth had room to emerge properly and would need fewer corrections in adolescence through other orthodontic methods such as braces or the use of clear plastic aligners such as Invisalign.
The goals of functional orthodontics
As mentioned, functional orthodontics seeks to achieve much more than straighter teeth. In addition to encouraging the growth of the dental and skeletal structure of the teeth and mouth, functional orthodontics also looks to restore or achieve the optimum oral resting posture. This consists of the orofacial complex remaining at rest with lips together, teeth together, and the tongue resting gently against the palate. This oral resting posture encourages the ideal way to breathe—specifically, taking shallow breaths through the nose. Nash breathing not only allows a greater absorption of oxygen into the body but also discourages chronic mouth breathing, which can have a host of negative consequences on the mouth and body, including raising the risk of the development of a sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Functional orthodontics also can achieve healthier jaw joints, wider dental arches, an open airway, and a more aesthetically balanced facial profile.
Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian is an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner of functional orthodontics. She can perform a screening on patients as young as the age of five, to determine any problems or potential problematic trends that may be improved or resolved through a course of treatment via functional orthodontics. This screening may entail a clinical examination, in combination with taking images using our digital X-ray system to provide more information in making a diagnosis.
How do I know if my child may benefit from functional orthodontics?
In addition to the above goals, functional orthodontics also can be used to treat issues such as sleep apnea or temporomandibular joint disorder. As parents, you should be aware of the warning signs of these disorders. Loud snoring remains the major warning sign of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea, but the disorder also often manifests symptoms similar to a hyperactivity disorder like ADD or ADHD. TMJ disorder, on the other hand, can create jaw pain, tooth pain, a misaligned bite, or painful headaches that do not respond well to normal headache medications.
Functional Orthodontics in Scotts Valley
If your child is experiencing any of these problems, schedule a screening to see if he or she could benefit from functional orthodontics by calling the office of Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411.
Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry serves patients located in the California communities of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley.