While many people are familiar with orthodontics, fewer have heard of dentofacial orthopedics. Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is one of nine specialties sanctioned by the American Dental Association, alongside other familiar specialties like pediatric dentistry and oral surgery. These specialties are pursued through a two- to three-year program following the completion of dental school.
So, what’s the difference between orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics? While orthodontics is focused on managing the movement and position of your teeth, dentofacial orthopedics entails proper guidance of facial growth and development. This specialty is mainly focused on children, as facial development occurs primarily during childhood. There are several appliances used in dentofacial orthopedics, like braces, headgear, and expanders. Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics are often done at the same time.
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