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Functional Jaw Orthopedic ( Orthopaedics ) Overview

What? Functional orthodontics considers both the jaws and the teeth, and the complex relationship between the two.

How? It is common that a dentist performing functional jaw orthopedic ( FJO ) treatment will treat the patient in two phases. First, an orthopedic appliance is inserted into the mouth to move bone. These functional appliances are removable or fixed devices which alter the growth of the jawbone to correct many problems such as airway obstruction, mouth breathing, over bites (class II), under bites (class III) and other bone formation pathology. In most cases, the purpose of the appliance is to expand the arch to allow the teeth to fit in, rather than the traditional orthodontist approach of extracting healthy teeth. In the second phase of treatment, orthodontics (braces) are used to straighten or align teeth to hold the jaws in place for a beautiful smile and a healthy temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Why? Temporomandibular Disorder affects up to 10% of the population.Practitioners trained and experienced in performing Functional Jaw Orthopedic treatment are not only concerned with the teeth, but also with the jaw joints, the jawbones and the facial muscles used for chewing. The need for tooth extraction or multiple ( serial ) extraction with this method is greatly reduced. The more teeth that a patient can keep produces a more broad smile and a healthy TMJ. A common misconception is that protruding upper front teeth (over bite) need to be pulled backward, whereas the real problem is that the lower jaw needs to be moved forward. In the most severe overbite cases the lower jaw (recessive mandible) is the problem. Our goal with FJO treatment is to establish a stable occlusion (bite) in which the teeth, bones and muscles are all working harmoniously, as well as a beautiful broad smile. As patients become more educated about the ill effects of unnecessary tooth extraction and retruding jaws, FJO is becoming very popular.

When? Jaw imbalance affects patients of all ages. Dr. Dagostino treats patients as young as 3 years old. By the age of 6, most (up to 80%) of the jaw growth has occurred. Active FJO treatment between the ages of 2 and 6 years of age can effectively guide proper growth and development of the jaws, the teeth and the airway. Whether you are a child, adolescent, adult or in your senior years wearing dentures, an FJO examination can evaluate your present jaw positioning, its potential risks on your health and provide a treatment plan for the correction jaw health.

Who? Functional Jaw Orthopedic treatments are performed by a growing number of highly trained general dentists, pediatric dentists and orthodontists worldwide. Dr. Dagostino has been educated and practicing FJO dentistry since 1986. His appetite for continued education on the subject of FJO dentistry results in world travel to attend courses, both to learn and lecture on the subject.

Glossary of terms:

  • FJO - functional jaw orthopedics (orthopaedics)
  • TMJ - temporomandibular joint(s)
  • TMD - temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Occlusion - the way teeth fit together