Richmond dentist explains the advantages of ALF appliance therapy for tooth crowding
The Advanced Light Force (ALF) appliance is a simple, yet effective dental device that was developed to improve the overall health, beauty, and function of the oral cavity. Located in Richmond, VA, Dr. Olivia Hart of Richmond Family Dentistry offers ALF appliance therapy for children and adults. This device can address teeth that are overcrowded or crooked to help guide the teeth and tongue into proper positioning for a healthy, functional smile.
The ALF appliance uses a unique, sophisticated design which produces results beyond those of traditional dentistry and orthodontics. This therapy fits within our holistic dentistry practice as it works to improve the overall wellness of the patient while enhancing the function and appearance of the smile. ALF therapy addresses and balances the patient’s bite and tongue placement. The design provides constant, gentle support to the teeth and the bones of the face, head, and neck. The device expands the jaw and promotes changes in function to achieve long-term results. While it addresses alignment of the facial and cranial bones, ALF appliance therapy is an effective method for aligning teeth without or with minimal traditional orthodontic treatment.
ALF appliance therapy for tooth crowding
ALF appliance therapy is not the same thing as orthodontic braces. When the jaw is too small and there is not enough room for the teeth to fit appropriately, they get crooked or crowded. ALF is a device that naturally expands or increases the jaw size. Bone volume increases and there is more space or room in the mouth for the teeth. Orthodontic braces can only straighten crooked teeth if there is enough room in the jaw. In some cases, ALF appliance therapy is performed first to provide expansion and then followed by an orthodontic treatment to produce proper alignment.
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The ALF device works well for tooth crowding because it creates room for the tongue and teeth to fit in the mouth. The jaw is shaped to the tongue rather than shaped to a wire. The device stops expanding when the tongue stops pushing outward against it. The mouth is designed to fit the teeth and tongue. ALF therapy helps everything have enough room to fit the way just as nature intended.
In some cases when the mouth is too small, professionals try to use a rapid palatal expander to add space in the mouth. This uses more force and expands the back of the mouth more than in the front. This means there is no room in the front of the mouth for the tongue to fit. Expansion also occurs too rapidly so less bone grows and tooth tipping occurs. On the other hand, the ALF appliance uses light force to expand the entire mouth. Bone growth and development are stimulated resulting in a natural shape for the mouth and tongue.
Many people consider tooth crowding a cosmetic issue to be handled by an orthodontist. However, small jaw size and crowded teeth may also lead to problems sleeping or breathing. ALF therapy provides orthopedic growth which provides room for the tongue and teeth to promote better mouth and nose breathing. It balances the jaws and facial bones.
Advantages of ALF appliance therapy
The ALF appliance mimics the forces that are present in craniofacial development. This is beneficial for young children as it supports cranial development, trains the tongue into the proper position, and repositions the teeth to complement the function of the body. ALF uses gentle, subtle pressure to exert constant lateral force. The force is exerted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to achieve effective regulation and correction.
ALF appliance therapy brings a number of benefits as it addresses issues with the mouth, jaw size, and teeth. Advantages include:
- Addresses crowding by creating room in the mouth for teeth to fit naturally
- Expands in the natural shape of the mouth and tongue rather than the shape of a wire
- Decreases the need for complex orthodontics
- Improves tongue position and function which also corrects the size of the airway
- Improves sleep
- Corrects the bite
- Addresses breathing through the nose
- Improves the balance of facial bones