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Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics – What’s the Difference?


Orthodontics is a very vast field. And some treatments appear so similar that they end up confusing the laymen. But every treatment is done to achieve a unique goal. Such is the case with orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Both of them work on correcting dental arches and alignment. They both control the development of the abnormal facial and dental structure. But one is more advanced than the other.


Orthodontics is a well-known dentistry treatment. “Ortho” means “straight” and “dontics” means “related to teeth” in greek. Thus this treatment is done to correct misaligned teeth, overbite, underbite, gaped or crocked teeth, and other dental structure-related issues. Braces or aligners are applied to straighten the teeth and jaws.
It helps patients to achieve the desired bite and smile. It also prevents any further damage to teeth and jaws by misaligned teeth.

Dentofacial Orthopedics

Dentofacial orthopedics also works to correct all the bite issues mentioned above. Moreover, it can treat and manage jaw positions related to the face skull. “Dento” stands for teeth and “facial” for the face. Dentofacial orthopedics can control the growth of facial bones as well as the jaw. This process is best done during childhood as the jaws and bones are ingrowing condition. A proper bite and smile can be achieved in kids with the help of some appliances. In contrast, it may require minor surgery for adults.

Difference Between Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

Orthodontics treats misaligned teeth with the help of braces and aligners. Basically, it puts pressure on the teeth and jaws only. But the structure of the jaw is often connected to facial bones also. Dentofacial orthopedics treatment uses advanced orthopedic appliances to control the growth of facial bones with jaws. The most common tools used under this treatment are maxillary (upper jaw) and mandibular (lower jaw) expanders.

The patient needs to wear braces for some time under dentofacial orthopedics treatment also. But that is the second stage of the treatment. The jaw and bone abnormality is corrected in the first stage.

Who is the Right Candidate for Dentofacial Orthopedics?

  • Kids are best suited for the Dentofacial Orthopedics treatment. The facial bones and jaw are in the growing condition in kids. Therefore, it will be easier to guide them in the desired shape. 8 years of age is considered ideal by experts to start the first stage of the treatment.
  • But it doesn’t mean that adults can’t take advantage of this treatment. The procedure will be more complicated for them, and it may include a few small surgeries also. Because the jawbones are already formed and are hard to mold in the desired form. But dentofacial orthopedics is a perfect solution for adults for specific bite problems.

Final Words

Thurman Orthodontics are experts in both; orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Book an appointment with us now to check which of these treatments will work best for you.

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