Dentofacial Orthopedics

You may have noticed that Dr. McDonough specializes in “orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title.  Basically, dentofacial orthopedics involves properly positioning the jaws so that the teeth can function properly.  Think of the jaws as the foundation and the teeth as the house.  If the foundation is not stable, the house will not be easy to maintain.

Every orthodontist starts his education with 4 years of dental school. Upon completion of dental school, some graduates immediately go into practice as dentists. Others choose to pursue a specialty, which requires additional training during a two-to-three year residency program. Dr. McDonough completed 3 years residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center and also trained at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Center.

“Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics” is one of the nine specialties. Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. Appliances are frequently used — the more familiar braces for orthodontics, and other specialized appliances like headgear, MARA appliances and palatal expanders 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's actually undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Being skilled in both areas, Dr. McDonough is able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.  Many of the most rewarding treatment we do involves improving the jaw postion in addition to the tooth position.

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