Dental and maxillofacial orthopaedics - also known as dentofacial orthopaedics - is similar to orthodontic dentistry, as both branches of dentistry involve the use of dental appliances. However, while orthodontics entail the management of tooth movement, maxillofacial orthopaedics involve the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs during childhood.
Children are the best candidates for dental and maxillo-facial orthopaedic therapy, as their bones are still developing. Dr Sterley will examine and monitor the young patient's growth to determine the most efficient time to start the treatment. In most cases, the best time to begin treatment is before the patient's teeth have erupted. This stage is known as phase-one, and during this period Dr Sterley will provide the patient with treatment designed to correct his or her jaw growth, ensuring that the jaw bone is properly aligned before moving on the next phase of treatment: placing braces onto the teeth.
Dental and maxillofacial orthopaedics may also be used on adult patients, however, since the bones of an adult are no longer growing, it is more difficult to adjust the bite and move the teeth into proper alignment. Therefore, this process may involve surgery to alter the jaw bone and create the proper bite alignment before the treatment can begin.