Some dental practitioners believe, working with the ALF (advanced light wire functional) appliance takes long to get the desired result. Actually, using the ALF appliance allows the jaws an opportunity to catch up with the growth of the rest of the body. When the ALF is being used on a child, it can be placed successfully as early as two years old, as an early intervention tool, making room for the teeth that are scheduled to erupt. If the child has orofacial muscle dysfunction, and chewing, breathing or swallowing is effected, the dental arches can be disrupted in form and growth pattern. Many times, the reason the jaws are not growing properly is because the tongue has not naturally found its home in the palate, and mouth breathing may be the primary way the child breaths. After the ALF is placed, it is important to seek OMT or Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy to teach the muscles of the mouth and face how to function properly with synchronicity. The ALF helps to make room for the teeth growing in. Establishing nasal breathing, and a correct swallow, will give the teeth a better chance to keep their alignment for the future.
The tongue is the bodies natural palatal expander. When the tongue rests in the palate, with every swallow rhythm, the palate is made fuller, supporting proper facial development which includes sinuses. The TMJ joint relies on the tongue resting in the palate to give the jaws balance.
The ALF appliance is effectively used in adults as well. With a skilled ALF provider, problems that are usually only corrected by surgical intervention can be realigned using the ALF appliance. The ALF is a light wire hidden behind the teeth, so there are no esthetic concerns. It works gently but purposefully to expand areas within the dental arch which may have collapsed over time, including cross bites.
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