You may have noticed that Dr. Cohen and Dr. Johnson specialize in "Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics." While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the "dentofacial orthopedics" part of the title. We can explain!
Every orthodontist starts out in dental school. Upon completion of dental school, some graduates immediately go into practice as dentists. Others choose to pursue a dental specialty, which requires additional schooling during a two-to-three-year residency program. There are nine specialties sanctioned by the American Dental Association. Some you may be familiar with are Pediatric Dentistry (dentistry for children), Periodontics (dentistry focusing on the gums), and Oral Surgery.
One of the nine specialties is "Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics." You probably know that an orthodontist straightens teeth, and indeed: "ortho" comes from the Greek for "straight" or "correct," and "dontic" from the Greek for "teeth." But what about dentofacial orthopedics? "Dentofacial" is "teeth" plus "face" while "ortho" again means "straight" and "pedic" is from the Greek for "child."
Essentially, orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement; it is only one part of comprehensive treatment. Dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, jaw positioning, and airway modification. Since growth occurs largely during childhood, most treatments will involve the use of both types of appliances - the more familiar braces for orthodontics, and other specialized appliances, like expanders and Herbst Appliances for orthopedics. Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are accomplished at the same time. So if your child gets braces and other strange-looking appliances, he's undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics! We treat more than just teeth!
Because Dr. Cohen and Dr. Johnson are skilled in both areas, they are able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments. It truly is the best of both worlds.