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Answering Your Questions about Full Face Orthodontics

Most people are familiar with the idea of orthodontics like Invisalign. However, when we talk about full face orthodontics, or use its technical name epigenetic orthodontics, we find that people are less sure what we’re talking about and have many questions. 

At Divine Smiles, Woburn and Winchester cosmetic dentist Dr. Ryan M. Clancy is good at explaining complex ideas in an easy-to-understand way. If you still have questions after reading this blog, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clancy to get answers in person. 

mature adult woman smiling and leaning on the kitchen counter

What is Full Face Orthodontics?

Full face orthodontics is another name for epigenetic orthodontics. We use this name because it is descriptive and can help patients in Woburn and Winchester get an intuitive understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish with this technique. 

The name orthodontics means literally “straight teeth.” So it says exactly what it’s trying to achieve. We use the name full face orthodontics to communicate that we are using orthodontic techniques to do more than just straighten your teeth. Instead, we are also trying to change the size, shape, and function of facial structures. 

How is Full Face Orthodontics Different From Traditional Orthodontics?

It’s not as different as you might think. To some extent, all orthodontics is epigenetic–it is meant to encourage your body to develop in ways that allow for straight teeth. 

The main differences are the focus of the technique as well as some of its approaches. 

While traditional orthodontics might respond to teeth crowding by extracting some of your teeth, then moving the remaining teeth into a straight configuration, epigenetic orthodontics might work to expand your jaw. That way all your teeth fit without any need for extraction. Traditional orthodontics often relies exclusively on fixed appliances–those bonded to your teeth–while full face orthodontics might use a combination of fixed appliances, removable appliances, exercises, and changes in habits to achieve its effects. 

Traditional orthodontics can also change the shape of your face, but it’s often seen as a side effect, rather than a goal. 

Will Epigenetic Orthodontics Change My Genes?

No. Epigenetic orthodontics isn’t about causing mutations or other changes in your genetic code. The “epi” in epigenetic means above, on, or in addition to your genes. Epigenetics looks at some of the ways your body controls the expression of your genes. 

In epigenetic orthodontics, we provide your body with stimuli to encourage it to develop more fully, achieving the potential development contained in your genetic code. 

For example, most of our genes contain the code for developing a jaw large enough to hold all our teeth. However, we don’t always develop that way because the stimuli of modern life don’t match the stimuli our ancestors faced. Mouth breathing, chewing soft food, poor swallowing habits, and more can all interfere with the development of your jaws. Epigenetic orthodontics in Woburn and Winchester uses various tools and techniques to encourage further development. 

What Can Full Face Orthodontics Do For Me?

Full face orthodontics can help if you want to change:

  • Facial appearance, including
    • Narrow face
    • Sunken face
    • Receding chin
  • Crowded or crooked teeth
  • TMJ symptoms
  • Breathing problems, including sleep apnea and snoring

If you are looking to overcome any of these concerns, full face orthodontics can help. 

Can Epigenetic Orthodontics Really Change My Appearance?

Yes! Your facial appearance is partly determined by the size and shape of your jaws. By encouraging jaws to develop more fully, epigenetic orthodontics can change the shape of your face. Widening your jaw can widen your face. Lengthening your upper jaw can reduce a sunken, dished, or dished-in profile. Expanding the lower jaw can reduce or eliminate a receding chin. 

Can Full Face Orthodontics Affect Breathing?

Many facial structures develop together. For example, the width of your airway is determined in part by the width of your jaws. By encouraging your jaw to widen, full face orthodontics can expand your airway, making it easier to breathe.

You might notice improved breathing during the day, but you might also notice it at night when you experience less sleep-disordered breathing: snoring or sleep apnea

How Can Full Face Orthodontics Improve TMJ Symptoms?

Sometimes, temporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD) are caused or worsened by underdeveloped jaws. If your jaws aren’t large enough or don’t fit together properly, it can force you to use unhealthy accommodating techniques for chewing, swallowing, and other functions. It might also make it impossible for your jaws to find a comfortable resting position. 

By encouraging more development of your jaws, full face orthodontics can help your jaws achieve a more healthy relationship that improves function and reduces symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches, and more. 

More Questions About Full Face Orthodontics in Woburn and Winchester?

Are you hoping to improve your facial appearance, breathe better, or have healthier jaw function as well as achieve straight teeth? If so, you might be a candidate for full face orthodontics in Woburn and Winchester.

If you want to learn how this technique can help you, please call (781) 396-8558 or use our online form to request an appointment with Dr. Ryan Clancy at Divine Smiles, serving Woburn and Winchester, located in Horn Pond Plaza, across from Whole Foods.  

By Ryan M. Clancy, DMD, MAGD, LVIF, FPFA, FIAPA | February 8th, 2023 | Cosmetic Dentistry, Epigenetic Dentistry, Orthodontics

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