welcomewholebodytmjsleep disordercranio facials
functional orthodontic

Functional Orthodontics

This is the interconnection of the body and stresses and distortions contained therein and the complimentary distortions seen in the bones of the skull and the associated asymmetries in the facial and cranial musculature.

Various patterns of distortion and pain have been noted by many back-care and other health workers. These are other associated were helped in conjunction with dental therapy and cranial suture treatment as well as nutritional support.

The whole body approach is one where the dental problems are seen as part of the whole and failure to look so widely will lead to failure or limitation of treatment.

Having completed a full diagnostic workup that takes in a great deal of information, this is then analysed. The distortions identified and their relevance noted.

The problems are then broken down into cranial, dental and respiratory issues as the structural ones and these are accompanied by the nutritional and neurological issues.
These are addressed in a progressive sequence starting with looking at the dental jaw joint (TMJ). Because this is so highly innervated not addressing any internal damage or malfunction will ensure that the neurological input will overwhelm any treatment done elsewhere.

Once that has been stabilised the rest of the face and the skeleton can be addressed. This is done in a three phase approach.

Phase I

  1. Stabilise the TMJ on a temporary basis (12 weeks)
  2. Remove distortions wherever possible.
  3. Support with nutrients and pain control.
  4. Review and modify treatment  as needed.

Phase II

  1. This is the long term solution and may be a combination of  orthodontics and placing new crowns, bridges  dentures or implants to maintain the jaw position.

These are the treatment phases and they are accompanied by nutritional and neurological treatment as well.

Structural treatment is not limited to dental but includes podiatry to ensure the legs and therefore the sacrum is level and therefore the torso has few strains and torsions in it.  There must be Cranial Sacral Treatment to allow the dura or protective surrounding layer of the brain and spinal cord to function and not have impediments. 

Cranial Respiration. As you inhale and exhale there is more than just the chest moving. The entire skull too should move in a predictable manner. This is called Cranial Respiration. The skull is made up of many bones joined together along slightly mobile joints called sutures. As the skull moves, it will flex along these lines and a few specialised joints such as the Clivus or ‘base of the skull.  The Skull will extend on inhalation and contract or flex on exhaling.  The skull must be free to do this and restrictions will cause issues in neurological activity and in moving the CSF

While this can be improved with orthotics in both feet and in the mouth, this is cumbersome and incomplete. This is why Functional Orthodontics was developed to make long term improvements in the underlying structure.

Phase I

Where the body is allowed to heal before the braces are used

This is usually done with plastic removable growth plates.  Remove distortions wherever possible. These are the narrow jaws, with a high roof in the top jaw.  Often the left and right are different shapes.

Structural treatment starts at the feet with shoes and podiatry. Next is the pelvis and so on up the body. We may need to seek supportive treatment from specialists in each area. We work closely with Osteopaths and Chiropractors in this regard as well as allergy specialists and others such as Butekyo Breathing who help establish nasal breathing thus allowing the tongue to form the palate properly.

1. Using simple appliances, the bite is leveled. This ensures that the jaw joints can heal properly and that the muscles around the jaw, face head and neck can settle and heal

Phase II

This where the teeth themselves are straightened.  This is done in such a way that the jaw joint remains in its proper place and the teeth are moved to suit.

2. The upper and lower jaw-bone, which carry the teeth, may be too small. This is what causes crowded teeth. If you are alive you can encourage the bones to reshape. This is what happens if you ever break a bone. Using very gentle forces the teeth can be used to encourage bone reshaping and when there is enough bone the teeth will fit.

3 Once the teeth have enough room, the jaws are horizontal and not just with each other, but to the eyes, the ears and to the ground, the face will look and work well.

4.Remember the jaw joint has very limited ability to adapt and so it is the teeth that have to be moved to ensure that the joint is protected. To move teeth and not think about the joint will put it in a bad place.

5. Imagine walking around with one high heeled shoe and a Jandal. Your hips would soon be wrecked.We must ensure that this is not what happens to the jaw joint.

6.When the teeth are essentially in the right area, it is time to stand them up. At this stage they are like lazy soldiers.

Phase III

7.This is Retention. As with all living things there will be alterations and forces acting. Every time you breathe, eat swallow and talk. This will tend to place forces in directions that were not able to be foreseen and the teeth will want to move. Retainers will reduce or stop this. It usually takes two to three years for the tissues (bone, muscles, tendons and teeth to settle into their new positions.

8.If you are an adult and have damaged or missing teeth, this is the time these concerns can be addressed. 

 The benefits of nose breathing

  • Improves oxygenation of the blood
  • Reduces snoring
  • Increases the time the tongue presses on the roof of the mouth.
  • Use it or lose it. As you increase the time spent nose breathing, it will often clear up with less blockages and better airflow.
  • Improves the immune system. Mouth breathing sucks in cold, dirty, dry air. This goes over the tonsils and into the delicate air passages. This leads to a reaction from the immune system.  Nose breathing leads to clean,  filtered, moistened and heated air flowing over the Adenoids, tonsils and so there is much less  irritation.
  • As you have to push with chest and diaphragm muscles, this extra pressure means a better gas exchange in the lungs. This means up to 20% more oxygen gets squeezed into the blood. That is 20% more for the brain, 20% more for the thinking and development and that is significant.

If the palate does not develop correctly with the  tongue molding the mouth, then the  nose too will be smaller inside as will the middle third of the face.  The lower jaw may then be bigger and the jaws no longer fit.  This is seen commonly in orthodontics.

While it has been known for a long time that there was a connection between mouth breathing and malocclusion, the extent has not been appreciated until, recently.  A Dental Scientist recently looked at the number of young people who sucked their thumbs or a ‘dummy/pacifier’ and found that 96% of that group developed a bad bite.

Further to that, comparing a remedial reading class to an advanced of ‘high-achievers’ class of children from a number of larger schools, it was noted that the  over 80% of the poor achievers had a bad bite whereas there were no bad bites in the high-achievers class.

Functional Orthodontics is all about the link between the teeth, jaws face and body. It is about the health of the whole person. [Read about Snoring and Headaches]

What Sort of Problems are helped by Functional Orthodontics?

  • Breathing.
  • Snoring
  • Jaw Joints
  • Head position
  • Headaches and Migraine
  • Sore Jaws
  • Sore face muscles
  • Sore Necks and Shoulders
  • Low Back pain
  • Growth
  • Bed Wetting
  • Facial Development.
  • Speech.
  • Swallowing.
  • School performance.
  • Social interactions
  • Posture.
  • Pre-prosthetic preparation

School Performance Linked to a Bad Bite

Recent research has shown that over 80% of children in a remedial reading program had a bad bite or malocclusion, whereas those in the high achievers class had none.  This is a reflection of the complex interactions of the face, jaws and nerves as well as the ability to breathe correctly and efficiently.