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ALF Appliance



Advanced Lightwire Functionals



Developed by Dr. Darick Nordstrom, the goal of this appliance is to improve overall systemic health through development of the bony structures in the jaw and face. The ALF appliance is a small but specific light wire that applies subtle continuous force to the teeth and skull bones. This light continuous force creates a piezoelectric effect in the body resulting in bony remodeling. As you can see below, the ALF is small and discrete. Its fits alongside the palate on the upper arch or next to the tongue on the lower arch. The ALF appliance is adjusted and shaped in our office each month guiding your arch development. The ALF is easy to wear and can be combined with your orthodontic therapy (braces) in certain situations. Please understand, a complete diagnosis of your orthopedic and orthodontic needs is completed before an ALF appliance can be fabricated. All appliances are custom made and individual. For more information on the history of ALF appliances please visit the website for the Clinical Foundation of Orthodontics and Orthopedics,



Understanding Growth of the Upper Jaw and Airway Development

Dental Facial Orthopedics is the term for guiding the growth of facial skeletal structures aiding in eruption of the permanent teeth, full expression of facial features and proper airway development. Fabricated according to specific radiographic measurements, dental facial orthopedic appliances (which look like "fancy retainers") apply gentle pressure to the upper and lower jaws stimulating bone growth and removing obstacles in the bite. This subtle pressure allows the jaws to grow creating necessary space for the eruption of permanent teeth. Likewise, this growth allows the airway to develop completely, the TMJ joints to function properly and facial structures like the nose and the chin to be more esthetic and balanced on the child's face. The philosophy of Dental Facial Orthopedics is to be preventative (aid in eruption of teeth) verses reactive (pull crowded teeth in a too small arch). 

By helping kids facial skeletal structures develop to their full potential, the need for traditional orthodontics (moving teeth) is minimized and the treatment time decreased. Braces are then used when the child is a teenager for smile esthetics only. The need to pull permanent teeth or have the child under-go extensive orthognathic surgery is very unlikely.



How are growth patterns assessed?


A Cephalometric X-ray is measured to determine growth patterns and inconsistencies between growth of the upper and lower jaws. Likewise, measurements are taken to determine if the child’s airway is constricted. 

Using these measurements, Dental Facial Orthopedic Appliances are designed to encourage jaw growth that will benefit the child. For example, if the upper jaw is too small or too far back...gentle pressure from an appliance encourages transverse and forward growth opening a constricted airway and providing space for the eruption of permanent teeth.

The Mechanism of Action


Dental Facial Orthopedics appliances are individualized according to diagnosis and growth patterns identified during Cephalometric x-ray analysis. 

For example, these retainers are 2 plates of acrylic with an imbedded expansion mechanism. Using a key every 3-4 weeks, the mechanism is activated providing slow, gentle pressure to guide the growth of upper and/or lower arches. Remember...our goal is arch development, not tooth movement.

Why Dental Facial Orthopedics is important at Vondrak Dental


As a general dentist, I have always believed in educating myself. My intent is provide the highest level of care everyday to every patient. Throughout this journey, it became evident that patients with Temporomandibular joint pain (TMD) were underserved, suffering and looking for answers. My mission became helping these individuals with more than just managing symptoms, I wanted to know the source of their problems. Our approach to splint therapy is unique, comprehensive, and health-centered. We are grateful to help so many. 

BUT, this wasn’t enough... I wanted to know WHY? What were the patterns & similarities among these TMD patients?




By understanding the mechanics of why underdeveloped jaws lead to TMD, I discovered how to work with children using DENTAL FACIAL ORTHOPEDIC APPLAINCES. Mold growth, develop jaws...prevent TMD! 

Coincidentally, (or not)…. my daughter’s medical condition leaves her susceptible to TMD. At age 5, her jaws were already popping & age 8 they are not! I am grateful for this knowledge and for my mentors. I will continue to learn and seek out answers to difficult problems. This is health-centered dentistry!

Additional Benefits of Orthopedic Appliances


Controlling the function of the tongue is another an important aspect of facial growth and development. At Vondrak Dental, all children are assessed for tongue and lip ties as well as tongue thrusting. If a tongue thrust is identified the appliance design is modified to include a spinner and or a tongue crib. These features help the child correct the position of the tongue when swallowing and speaking. By correcting a tongue thrust, the child will swallow, speak and breathe better for long term health. 














Straight Teeth are Healthier Teeth


Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete.



Straighter teeth can lead to:

  • Healthier Gums

  • Easier Dental Cleanings

  • Improved Chewing and Speech

  • Decreased Risk of Biting Trauma & Wear

  • Decreased Risk of TMJ Disorder

  • More BEAUTIFUL smiles!



Straightening your teeth can make a significant difference to having a healthy mouth and keeping your teeth for life. Call us to discuss Invisalign®, the virtually invisible aligners custom-made to straighten your teeth, improve your bite, and enhance your smile. Start on the road to a great smile and a healthy mouth today!

Pre and Post Orthopedic Development
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