In our modern society, most of the young people I meet really, really want braces or Invisalign or something to make their teeth look more cosmetic. This is where I need to segue into some of the reasons why doing orthodontic work may not be the right path to take. When a new patient comes to my office, I like to sit in front of them, facing them directly, as we both sit in a bar stool and stare at each other. Yes, it’s awkward, but when I tell them there is a reason for this they understand and appreciate it. What I am trying to do is to figure out if we can make braces work, or if the concept of orthodontics simply does not make sense. And, dear reader, most of the time doing braces simply does not make sense. Let me explain.
Research has long since proven that around 95% of the babies are born with cranial bone distortions that go both unrecognized and untreated. What this means is that the eyes and the ears are not quite level/even and the bones of the skull are somewhat distorted. In other words, just about all of us have these distortions. And so if you want to do braces and these cranial bone distortions are present, more than likely the braces will force the teeth where they do not want to go and the cranial bones will simply distort the teeth and move them later on anyway, even with retainers. As an example, I met a 25 year old young woman the other day who has been through two rounds of braces already and could not understand why her upper front right tooth and the three behind it had flared forward- a ‘bucky beaver’ effect- but ONLY on the right side. I told her I could easily put her back in braces, but the teeth will likely flare out again. When she asked why, I gave her a mirror and she was made aware that her right eye/eyebrow/ear were all higher than on the left side, i.e. her cranium was distorted and if we were to force her teeth to come back down into alignment with the others, they would just flare back out again because the cranial bones would push them out.
So with all my orthodontic cases, I explain these things to the patient and they are usually quite glad to realize that the relapse would likely be unfavorable if they did proceed with braces – unless those distorted cranial bones were leveled! Enter the formidable ALF appliance. Today, in lieu of doing braces, in many cases I am able to improve the appearance of not only the teeth, but the face in general. This is done by using the ALF appliance. This little device is incredibly efficient in leveling the bones inside the skull, and by making these bones more level, the teeth will often level out as well and go straighter. The ALF sits behind the teeth and gently pushes them a bit forward, while the counter force of the lips pushes them back. In other words, the teeth are pushed from the front and pushed from the back and end up lining up better. It’s a great way to avoid braces or to minimize the time you spend in braces, but it’s a healthier way to go too.
If you have any interest in a ‘better way to go’, please look at my website and read the blogs – many of them talk about how ALF treatment works. And of course, once the bones and joints are lined up better, we can always put on a few braces here and there, or even use clear aligners, to give you the nice looking smile you want!