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Developmental Orthodontics

You may be surprised to learn that a crowded smile is only one outcome for a developmental change in our mid-face. You can certainly align the smile and ignore the rest, but you may remain at risk for headaches, joint pain, and sleep-related breathing disorders as you age. If you want to address the entire health of your smile, we introduce you to developmental orthodontics.

Developmental Orthodontics

Developmental Orthodontics begins with a proper diagnosis. We then treat the identified deficiency of the jaws and the crowded smile to align the bite. This ensures that the smile AND THE JAWS that hold them are all properly aligned and stabilized. This technique prevents most unnecessary extractions, surgery, TMJ issues, and further relapse. Just a beautiful smile remains without further complications.

Traditional Orthodontics

Traditional orthodontic approaches address the smile within the jaw sizes given. If there is a deficiency in jaw size, extractions are normally required to align the smile. If the discrepancy is too large, surgery is often recommended. If the smile is aligned without observation and diagnosis of the deficiency and the underlying causes, then complications such as relapse, TMJ pain, poor posture, headaches and others may arise.


The Problem

Mid-face deficiency may be best described as “undersized and mal-aligned jaws”. Why would they not grow properly in size and orientation? Well, there are three main causes:


Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing is a result of various causes. But to breathe through the mouth we must lower the tongue from the roof of the mouth, reducing the forces required for the upper jaw to grow normally in size. 


Tongue Posture

If our tongue isn’t postured in the roof of the mouth, an improper swallowing pattern of the tongue normally follows. The forces of the tongue are thus placed elsewhere and the upper jaw fails to receive the forces that help it grow.

lips 2

Lips Together

Proper tension from our facial muscles play a direct role in development of our jaws as well. When we don’t posture our lips together, the tension of our facial muscles change, and the bones are not signaled to respond and develop fully.

What do these changes do?

If there is a change in these functional signals, we will see a change in the size and direction of jaw development. If the upper jaw (maxilla) is deficient in size, the lower jaw will respond and adapt to keep your teeth together. 

Maxillary change and Mid-face Deficiency?

The result described above is called “mid-face deficiency”.  This outcome is what drives dental crowding along with all other symptoms described below:

Patient symptoms:


Longer Face

When the maxilla isn’t supported, it tends to drift down and back.  As the mandible in turn responds, the area of the face below the nose becomes much longer

A Gummy Smile

As the maxilla drifts down, the gums that cover the jaw above the upper teeth become further displayed. This results in more of the gums showing when the patient smiles.

Heavy Crowding

When jaws are smaller than they should be, there’s less room for the teeth to erupt into. This results in crowding of the teeth and impacted wisdom teeth are common as well.


Narrow Smile

When the upper jaw isn’t supported by the tongue, it becomes far more narrow and results in a “vaulted palate”. This normally results in a smaller nasal passage as well.

Forward Head Posture

When the jaws are further back, the tongue will be as well. This will make the airway smaller requiring the patient to lean forward in order to breathe normally.

Weaker Chin

When the upper jaw drifts down and back, the lower jaw responds and angles down as well, creating a higher angle to the jaw and results in a “weaker chin”.

Muscle Pain

The muscles of the face are what stabilize a “bad bite”, a result of improper development of the jaws. The more the muscles work, the more symptoms a patient will have.


TMJ Discomfort

TMJ pain is most often a result of a poor jaw position and the adaptive changes made to maintain the bite. It’s a symptom resulting from the lower jaw’s undesired position.

More reasons to smile. 

or call 918.393.0070

What does correction entail?

Correction is possible at any age. By capitilizing on growth still remaining in a younger child, or the body’s residual ability to remodel even as an adult, we can correct much of the deficiciency and your associated symtpoms.


Proper diagnosis

Correction only begins with a proper diagnosis. This requires diagnostic records (pictures, notes, 3D x-ray, and a digital scan) and it all results in a 3D cephalometric analysis along with a review by a maxillofacial radiologist. With this information, we can now form a plan with confidence. 

Balanced Bit

Restoration appliances

Once we receive the diagnosis and associated plan, we may recommend a simple restoration appliance that is appropriate for you and your age. These appliances are used to help reorient and resize the associated jaw(s) and the identified discrepancies to put the mid-face back on track. 

Avoid TMD

Controlled arch

This system was designed to correct the bite and re-align the smile after the developmental discrepancies are corrected.  Most orthodontic approaches only retract teeth or pull them back towards the molars. Controlled Arch Orthodontics allows us to protract, or move teeth forward.  There is no other system like it!

What can I expect after developmental orthodontics?

Here are many of the added benefits to this approach:

A Broad & Straight Smile

Avoidance of Extractions

Fuller Cheeks and Face 

Improved Breathing

Improved Posture

We got Answers!

Here’s what we’ve seen individuals ask the most often:

Does this approach cost more?

The “orthodontics” themselves don’t normally cost much more than traditional orthodontics, but if developmental therapy is needed to correct the deficiencies prior to braces, there will be an additional investment. But compared to doing braces twice as many have done because of relapse, you’ll save quite a bit! 

How can this approach work 30% faster?

Controlled Arch Orthodontics works WITH the natural function and direction of facial development. That means we work with the body instead of fighting it. And with a few more additions to the orthodontic system, we control tooth movement more precisely. This keeps unwanted rebound of teeth movements from occurring in unwanted areas. Those two benefits can make a drastic difference in the time it takes to correct crowding!

I've had braces before, am I still a candidate?

There is a high chance you are still a candidate for our developmental orthodontics. Most patients that have had orthodontics before were trying to correct their crowding, which again is only one outcome of developmental deficiencies. Of course, we would like to see you to fully assess your wants and needs, but we can help you!

Does this approach feel different that traditional methods?

Generally speaking, our orthodontics will feel relatively the same as traditional methods. Our approach to treatment is different, but that does not mean you should feel major differences.

What's the difference between this and clear aligner treatment?

Clear aligner therapy ise best for tipping or slightly rotating relatively straight teeth, think small cosmetic movements. As for Controlled Arch  Orthodontics, we are able to bodily move teeth and get them into their best position for long term stability, root, and all! This approach is used to help correct the bite as well. Just because teeth are straight, doesn’t mean they are in a healthy position for long term function and health! 

Am I too old for this way of treatment?

You are never too old to complete this treatment. We can start working on kids as young as 6/7 and all the way up into the 100’s!

I'm really interested in this, what's the first step?

Great! The first step is to give us a call and set-up an initial consultation so we can discuss your wants and needs. Give us a call at 918-393-0070 or email us at theteam@breathedentistry.com

Make an appointment today!

The easiest thing to do is to call us at 918.393.0070 so we schedule your appointment or simply fill the form below. But if it’s after hours or we’re enjoying our weekend as well, drop a message below and we’ll get right back to you.


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