Craniofacial Orthodontics

in Columbia, SC

You may have heard that our doctors specialize in “orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many still get confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title. 

So, what exactly is dentofacial orthopedics, and how does it differ from traditional orthodontics?

What Is Dentofacial Orthopedics?

Dentofacial orthopedics is a unique field within dentistry. It’s not just about straightening teeth, as many might assume when they hear “orthodontics.” Traditional orthodontics mainly focuses on straightening teeth and aligning the bite. Dentofacial orthopedics goes a step further.

Dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which primarily occurs during childhood. The role of dentofacial orthopedics is to ensure the harmonious growth of a patient’s face and jaws, along with the alignment of their teeth. This specialty requires understanding the complex relationship between the anatomy, growth patterns and developmental changes in a patient’s face and jaws.

For instance, if a child’s upper jaw is growing too quickly or the lower jaw is not growing quickly enough, these specialists can apply specific techniques to guide the growth of these bones. This might involve using appliances like braces, retainers or headgear, which can be fixed or removable. These appliances apply pressure to the jawbones and facial muscles over time to alter the growth and development pattern.

What Are the Issues Dentofacial Orthopedics Aim to Treat?

Dentofacial orthopedics treats various conditions related to the growth and development of the face, jaws and teeth. These conditions can be genetic, developmental or caused by injury. Here are some specific conditions that dentofacial orthopedics can address:


This is a condition where the teeth do not fit together properly when the mouth is closed, also known as a bad bite. It includes overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite.

Jaw Growth Problems

Dentofacial orthopedics can correct issues related to the growth and development of the jaw. This includes cases where one jaw grows faster than the other or the jaws are not aligned correctly.

Facial Asymmetry

If the face is noticeably uneven or asymmetrical, dentofacial orthopedics can help correct this. This might involve guiding the growth of the facial bones during childhood or recommending surgery in adulthood.

Breathing or Speech Issues

 Issues with the structure or alignment of the jaws and teeth can cause some breathing or speech problems. In such cases, treatment from a dentofacial orthopedist can help.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD)

These disorders affect the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Dentofacial orthopedics can provide treatments to alleviate the discomfort associated with TMD.

Protruding or Receding Chin

Dentofacial orthopedics can correct issues with the chin's position relative to the rest of the face, which abnormalities in jaw growth can cause.

Washington Orthodontics Offers Dentofacial Orthopedic Treatments in Columbia, SC

At Washington Orthodontics, we are proud to offer comprehensive dentofacial orthopedic treatments in Columbia, SC. Our team of specialists is highly trained and experienced in identifying and treating various issues related to the growth and development of the face, jaws and teeth. They have completed additional education and training beyond the standard dental degree because managing the complexities of facial growth and development effectively is a challenging task. 

Our main goal is not just to create a beautiful smile but also to correct any imbalances in the patient’s bone structure. This ensures a more balanced and healthy facial profile, which can significantly improve a person’s appearance and self-esteem.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation!