STRAIGHT TALK about CROOKED TEETH (part 1)

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Published: Sunday, 20 October 2013 08:46 Written by 

First in a series of articles by: Derek Mahony, BDS, MDSc /S. Kent Lauson, DDS, MS (Orthodontists)

This is the first in a series of articles, which highlight information taken from a new book “STRAIGHT TALK about CROOKED TEETH” by Dr. S. Kent Lauson, Orthodontist, Aurora, Colorado, USA, with a Forward by Derek Mahony, Orthodontist, Sydney, Australia.  The book was written with the orthodontic consumer and general dentist in mind.  This typically would be a parent of a child with a developing malocclusion. 

Many experts in the field of orthodontics have heaped praise on the book as a must read for the family dentist and patient/parent. 

An important question to ask is why the book, and The Lauson System: 9 Keys to Lower Facial Harmony, is relevant and how did it come about.  The relevancy question is best answered by asking the question “What if?”  What if we could help people by knowing what the optimal functioning would be of a very important part of the human body, i.e. that of the mid and lower part of the face, the area below the eyes.  What if this area, after achieving ideal functioning could also result in enhanced facial beauty?  What if we could figure out a way to achieve a worthy goal of altering the lower face in a much more profound way, to as close to ideal as possible with form, function and beauty, by minimising surgery or removal of permanent teeth? 

The other question posed is “How did the book come about?”   Let’s start back over a quarter of a century ago when Dr. Kent Lauson, already an orthodontic specialist for 10 years, saw insufficiencies in how orthodontics was being performed.  Most treatment plans for orthodontics, at that time, concentrated on just straightening teeth, and paid little attention to the side effects of  “just straightening teeth”.  Dr Lauson had already seen adverse side effects, such as painful TMJ Dysfunctions occurring with a number of his patients, treated with his traditional orthodontic methods.  He knew there had to be a better way.  Thus, the thought process was established and for the next 25 years Kent looked past the teeth to see possible effects well beyond the teeth and mouth.  The findings were profound, and the effects were far reaching and included ailments such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (which has been shown as a cause of heart disease and pulmonary hypertension) as well as many other related diseases, neck and back problems and even childhood disorders such as ADHD.  The entire list is a very long one, but I think you get the point by now.

The upcoming series of articles in this publication are organized for ease of following, with the first article giving a background and then subsequent articles presenting each of the 9 Keys.  All articles will show before and after treatment results demonstrating the types of problems to look for and the expected results using the treatment modalities recommended.  An appendix and references are added to give further thoughts and backup for the ideas the book presents. These articles, including this one, will highlight many of the key points of the book in a more succinct way, giving the reader an overview and guide of the possibilities and treatment philosophies, in the book.  This first article will present Key #1 which is a Fully Developed Upper Jaw.   This will give a very good understanding of this critical treatment objective and the general feel for the new philosophy in early orthodontic correction. 

This first article presents Key #1, A Fully Developed Upper Jaw, A well-developed upper jaw creates strong, balanced facial contours and the potential for an unforgettable smile. Consider the parade of cover girls you have seen or the “movie star smile” exemplified by the picture below of a patient treated by Full Face Orthodontics.

It is important to understand that most patients that seek orthodontic treatment have a narrow upper jaw.  In fact, the Straight Talk about Crooked Teeth book, includes a study by an orthodontist who found that 95% of the untreated new patients coming to his office had a narrow upper jaw.  In correcting a narrow upper jaw to ideal, as the first Key states, it needs to be known that this is an achievable goal for a person at any age.  A key principle to understand—and one that traditional dentistry has not yet recognized—is that the mid-palatal suture remains viable and living all throughout life and therefore permits significant expansion of the upper jaw at any stage of life.  We dentists were incorrectly taught in dental school that this mid-palatal suture calcifies over and that the two adjacent bones become fused together at around ages twelve to fourteen. Note the dramatic change in the before and after pictures shown below taken of a patient in her late thirties who was treated with extremely slow orthopedic methods plus low force, low friction braces—without extractions or surgery.

         

The following case study is a good example of the use of FFO to expand the maxilla to an ideal shape to create a handsome, movie star smile.

Rob was sixteen years old when he came to the office with substantial crowding of his front teeth. His upper jaw was narrower than what is considered ideal, and his lower teeth were leaning inward toward his tongue, a commonly seen situation in any orthodontic office. Conventional orthodontics typically would have recommended the removal of four first bicuspid teeth and then the straightening of the remaining teeth with braces.

 

 Pretreatment photos showing crowding and narrow arches

Instead, we slowly widened both the upper and lower dental arches using Schwarz expansion appliances, which took about four months. Then we placed braces to finish his treatment in just under two years of overall treatment time. This ended up being a straightforward case with a beautiful, non-extraction result. Note that in the before pictures, the corners of Rob’s smile showed dark triangles at the sides of his teeth, due to constriction of the upper dental arch. After treatment, the dark triangles were all filled in with teeth.

 

Photos at completion of treatment

 After treatment was completed, Rob’s smile was full and confident. This result would not have been possible without the expansion of the arch forms. It is commonly believed that maxillofacial surgery is necessary (after twelve to fourteen years of age) to widen the bones of the maxilla to achieve the desired result. Extraction of permanent teeth to reduce crowding would be another choice; h,h, hhoowever, this leaves the patient with less teeth and arches that are still too narrow. As you can see, a beautiful result without invasive procedures was the result.

For information on the new orthodontic book please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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