Epigenetic Orthodontics: Don’t Follow the Fads in Orthodontics
Kenilworth, IL – Can you grow your jaw, correct your bite, eliminate TMJ pain, and cure sleep apnea, all through non-traditional orthodontic means? Many natural and holistic experts think you can, using appliances like the DNA and ALF.
What are these appliances? The DNA appliance is similar to a removable retainer and claims to widen the upper arch and nasal passageways. ALF is a custom appliance made of light, flexible wire that uses subtle forces on the bones, teeth and gums to resolve crowded or misaligned teeth and imbalanced facial features. It claims it can widen or reposition a patient’s jaws, as needed.
These two appliances are part of a newer branch of orthodontics called epigenetic orthodontics. It claims to use a patient’s natural genes to correct and straighten teeth, without the need for braces or aligners. Proponents of epigenetic orthodontics claim that the DNA and ALF appliances can activate a patient’s genes to correct underdeveloped craniofacial growth. It is believed that the genes that control tooth position can be activated by these devices. But is there any truth to these claims, or are they just wild guesses?
“When it comes to advances and new treatments in the orthodontic world, I always tell people one thing – follow the science,” says Dr. Michael Stosich. “We hear incredulous claims often in the orthodontic field, and unfortunately, many times the science just simply doesn’t back it up. This is one of those times.”
Dr. Stosich has dedicated his life and career to the science of moving teeth. In fact, in his seven years spent at top research universities, he performed studies on how to move teeth more efficiently through bone. These studies resulted in publications that led to important advancements in treating orthodontic patients, as well as an endowed grant for future study by the National Institute of Health.
“One of the underlying issues orthodontic treatment must always address is jaw growth and facial discrepancies,” says Dr. Stosich. “Epigenetic orthodontics didn’t introduce that idea – every good and well-trained orthodontist must take these issues into account in order to create a stable, properly functioning and straighter smile. Our goal must always be to create a harmonious bite, not just a prettier smile. And we know that the treatment plan we create must be individualized for every patient. No smile is the same, so every patient must be treated with a customized plan that meets his or her unique needs.”
Traditional orthodontics has been used for as long as it has for a simple reason – it is effective. These tried and true methods have been improved upon over time, but one thing doesn’t change – the science behind why they work.
Unfortunately, there are always “snake oil salesman” who make grand claims, but who are essentially selling scams. These products and technologies do not work and do not provide actual results that back up the claims of the people selling and marketing them.
If you are wondering about a new trend or appliance in the orthodontic world, the best way to determine if it is something to explore for yourself is to look for peer-reviewed studies and articles that can back up the claims. If you can’t find these, it’s important to ask yourself why that may be. Many companies behind these advances spend a lot of money to market them, but if you can’t find credible sources who can report on their effectiveness, apart from the companies who are paying to advertise them, it is best to steer clear. Likewise, with these appliances, the only sources you are likely to find on the DNA and ALF appliances are the holistic doctors who are promoting them.
“I’ve been an orthodontist for a long time, so unfortunately I’ve seen my fair share of gimmicks advertised to patients,” says Dr. Stosich. “The orthodontic world is no different than the rest of the world – there are always people who are going to prey on others to make a quick buck. But when it comes to your smile, this can not only leave you wondering why the product didn’t produce the suggested results, it can be flat out dangerous for your smile.”
When it comes to what orthodontic treatment may be best to treat your smile, Dr. Stosich suggests following the science and only the science.