Ask Dr. Greenberg: What are “Dentofacial Orthopedics”?


You may have noticed that Dr. Vickie Greenberg specializes in “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.” While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the “dentofacial orthopedics” part of the title.

Not to worry – we can explain!

You probably know that orthodontists like Dr. Greenberg straighten teeth, and indeed: “ortho” comes from the Greek for “straight” or “correct,” and “dontic” from the Greek for “teeth.” But what about dentofacial orthopedics? “Dentofacial” is “teeth” plus “face” while “ortho” again means “straight” and “pedic” is from the Greek for “child.”

Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood. In both cases, appliances are frequently used – the more familiar braces for orthodontics, and other specialized appliances like headgear and expanders depending on what facial abnormalities are present. Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two are accomplished at the same time. So if your child gets braces and headgear, he’s undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics!

Because Dr. Greenberg is skilled in both areas, he is able to diagnose any 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.

We hope that helps! Contact our office and schedule a complimentary consultation for your child. Our practice is located in Altadena, North of Pasadena, providing morning, afternoon and evening appointments, It’s never too late to get a great smile, and we can’t wait to help you get started.

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