Dentofacial Orthopedics

You may have noticed that Dr. Friedman specializes in “orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.” While most people are familiar with orthodontics, many are unsure what the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title means.

Every orthodontist completes dental school. Upon graduation, some dentists go into practice as general dentists. Others choose to pursue a specialty, which requires additional full-time schooling during a 2- to 3-year residency program. There are nine specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Some you are likely familiar with: pediatric dentistry (dentistry for children), periodontics (dentistry focusing on treating gum disease), and oral surgery.

“Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics” is one of the nine specialties. While orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. Appliances are frequently used to address aberrant facial patterns — appliances like protraction-headgear, expanders, and braces. Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are used at the same time.

Being skilled in both areas, Dr. Friedman is able to diagnose 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.