Mon Ortho sur le Plateau | Dre Sonia Lapointe

Mon Ortho sur le Plateau
Functional Orthodontics

The ultimate goal is for the mouth to work correctly.

Functional orthodontics is an alternative approach that looks at the treatment of malpositioning differently, and first considers the functions associated with the mouth:

- chewing
- breathing
- swallowing
- position of the tongue (at rest and when moving)
For example, unequal chewing (having one side that predominates when chewing) or poor swallowing can conflict with the harmonious development of the jaws. Optimal development of these functions will allow the dental arches to develop sufficiently for better alignment of the permanent teeth. Overall, this will lead to more balanced growth in the face.

This particular therapeutic approach (treating the functions first) offers your child a comprehensive and integrative method:

Your child will gradually develop balance in functional terms, as well as in the space between the lips, cheeks and the tongue. This development occurs naturally and gently and promotes greater long-term stability.
  See the progression of functional orthodontic treatment here.

What are the different types of appliances?

As opposed to conventional orthodontics, functional orthodontics is a gentle method that does not force rapid changes on the bone and dental structure. The tools used are most often removable appliances (functional activators, removable plates, etc.), in combination with various therapeutic and visual aids over the course of the treatment. Instructions are given on exercises to improve the functioning of the mouth.

The motivation and participation of the child, as well the involvement of the parents, are essential. The functional approach does not exclude fixed appliances and accessories (such as braces). To reach all of the goals set out in advance, the use of more conventional methods is sometimes recommended, to be used gently and progressively.
Mon Ortho sur le Plateau - Functional Orthodontics

At what age should I start?

Long before the permanent teeth emerge, it is possible to detect the first signs of malocclusion (teeth that do not come together well) and future misalignments of the jaws. This involves catching problems before they worsen and become permanent and more difficult to correct.

Above all, however, there are indications and signs that can be seen in the face or posture of a child with an oral dysfunction.

A parent can recognize these in their child:

- Mouth breathing
- Inflammation and red gums (signs of mouth breathing)
- Bags under the eyes and tired in appearance
- Inclined position of the head
- Significant offset between the jaws (e.g.: recessed chin or chin that protrudes)
- Distance between upper teeth and lower teeth
- Upper teeth and lower teeth that do not touch
- Noisy chewing
- Lips that do not touch while chewing
- Fatigue and lack of concentration
- Poor-quality sleep
- Grinding of teeth at night
- Prolonged bad habits (e.g., thumb sucking, fingernail chewing)

It is especially important not to wait until all of the baby teeth have fallen in before seeing an orthodontist (generally around age 12), and preferably around age 6 for a first consultation. Occasionally, when certain abnormalities are quite pronounced, intervention may be possible as early as age 4.

These signs are often first observed by the parents. Remember that it is never too early to get an orthodontist’s opinion.

You do not need to have a referral from your dentist to request the opinion of an orthodontist.

What else?

Functional orthodontics is a comprehensive and integrative approach and is not an exclusive and independent discipline. It considers the body holistically, and since the mouth is a part of the whole, therapies that complement functional orthodontics are sometimes recommended.

For example, osteopaths, occupational therapists or speech therapists can help to adjust certain systems in order develop a better functional environment both in terms of neurovegetative functions (breathing, swallowing, chewing, pronunciation) and overall functions involving posturology principles.