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You may have noticed that Dr. Van Westen specializes in "Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics." While most people have heard of orthodontics, many are not aware of the dentofacial orthopedics part.

Every orthodontist starts out in dental school. Dr. Van Westen decided to pursue a specialty, which required additional schooling during a residency program. "Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics" is one of the nine specialties sanctioned by the American Dental Association.

Essentially, while orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs largely during childhood.

Appliances used to guide skeletal growth include:

  • HEADGEARS: cervical, high pull, and reverse
  • HERBST appliance
  • MARA appliance

Sometimes orthopedic treatment may precede conventional braces, but often the two happen at the same time. So if your child gets braces and headgear, he or she is actually undergoing orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

Being skilled in both areas, Dr. Van Westen is able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and she can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments if needed.