Functional orthodontic treatment is an important part of our holistic approach to orthodontics. It places emphasis on achieving a broad, beautiful, symmetrical face, full lips, straight teeth, a stable TMJ position, balanced muscle function, and a healthy airway. Crowding and misalignment of teeth are addressed by developing the jaws, instead of pulling teeth.
With traditional orthodontic treatment, crowded teeth are frequently treated by extracting premolars and retracting or pulling the front teeth back to close up the excess space created. This retraction can cause the face, especially around the lips, to look caved in. It makes the nose more prominent, and it compromises the airway. This retraction of the front teeth may also cause headaches and TMJ problems by forcing the mandible (lower jaw) too far back.
Alternative Lightweight Functional appliances or ALF appliances are placed behind the teeth and apply a continuous light force to the bones of the skull, the jaws, and the teeth. We believe continuous light forces applied to teeth and skull bones is better than applying heavy continuous forces.