Orthodontics in San Jose

Dr. Victor Woodlief is passionate about addressing oral health problems at their foundation rather than simply treating symptoms. When people think about orthodontics, they often think about straightening the appearance of their teeth in order to achieve a more esthetic smile. While this is part of what orthodontics can do for patients, it is not the full scope of the possibilities available.

Dr. Woodlief offers functional orthodontics as part of his holistic approach to dentistry. Habits such as thumb-sucking, tongue thrust, mouth breathing, and reverse swallowing all affect the myofunctional (muscular) health of adults and kids in addition to the genetic implications of overcrowded and misaligned teeth.

What Is Functional Orthodontics?

Functional orthodontics seeks to treat the underlying cause of myofunctional problems and malocclusion (a poor bite), resulting in an overall improvement in health and comfort while potentially avoiding the necessity for years of orthodontic treatment and even extractions in the future.

Failure to address these issues can result in a number of conditions:

  • Chronic pain
  • Prematurely worn teeth
  • Fractured teeth
  • Sensitivity
  • Jaw joint dysfunction
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Overcrowding leading to extractions
  • Non-ideal profile or face shape
  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Facial pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep apnea or snoring

By seeking treatment, patients can achieve greater health and comfort in their day-to-day lives.

What to Expect with Functional Orthodontics Treatment?

We recommend that your child have his or her first orthodontic evaluation between 4-5 years of age. At this time, your child is still developing and early orthodontic intervention can prevent the need for invasive, lengthy, and complex treatment in the future.

Functional orthodontics is a whole-patient approach whose initial focus is orthopedic and includes improving a patient’s airway and bite (occlusion).

Straightening teeth through traditional orthodontics is the secondary focus of functional orthodontics. Functional orthodontics addresses these orthopedic aspects of the patient’s overall health before traditional orthodontic treatment begins:

  • Skeletal bones that make up the head and face
  • Upper and lower jaw bones and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) function
  • Relationship of the of the TMJ to the neck and back
  • Opening the patient’s airway

What Is the Goal of Functional Orthodontics?

The goal of functional orthodontics is to optimize the four areas listed above through orthodontic treatment, so your child can develop to his or her full genetic potential. Through braces and oral appliances we encourage palate expansion, which increases the size of the upper and/or lower jaws, and the airways. This creates room for the teeth to come into place naturally. 

Functional orthodontics allows a child’s face to develop properly by growing forward and not backward. This method allows us to minimize the possibilities of having to extract permanent teeth during the course of treatment.

Do You Treat Adults?

Dr. Woodlief also offers adult orthodontics to address occlusion, sleep apnea, TMJ (jaw joint) health, and cosmetics. A properly function jaw, muscle, and bone system promotes greater health in patients of all ages.

Can Orthodontics Improve My Smile?

Once your jaw joint function, bones of the head and face, and airway are properly functioning and further straightening of the teeth is required to achieve an esthetic appearance, we can address the cosmetics of your smile with traditional orthodontics or with invisible braces.

Contact Victor D. Woodlief, DMD for an Orthodontic Evaluation

It’s never too late to improve your oral health and comfort. Whether you would like an appointment for yourself or your child, contact our San Jose dental office to learn about available treatment options and to schedule an exam.