Who we are?
A group of specifically trained dental health professionals working along-side with other healthcare professionals in Alberta, Canada to provide a multidisciplinary treatment and/or management of Cranio-Cervico-Facial Dysfunction (CCFD).
What is CCFD?
CCFD is composed of a number of clinical dysfunctions involving skeletal and muscular structures of the upper and lower jaw, which relate directly and indirectly to the upper cervical spine (upper neck area).
Why it's important?
Select structures of the head allow us to perform the most basic and vital functions for our survival such as breathing, chewing and swallowing. Our body’s capability in sacrificing less critical functions in order to maintain the flow of nutrients and oxygen to our organs and tissues is called maladaptation. However, although this adaptive process may keep the body alive in the short-term, it often does this at the expense of poor development, painful symptoms and increased wear and tear to the person in the long-term.
Our body is capable of responding to environmental pressures that translate into phenotypic change (change in our appearance). The term epigenetics was coined by Conrad H. Waddington in 1942, where he observed assimilation of select phenotypic characteristics in fruit flies as a result of environmental stress. Epigenetics explains why identical twins sometimes don’t look identical, especially in cases where they were separated at birth and lived in different environments. The maladaptive process discussed above is an example of environmental stress that leads to an epigenetic process, changing how we look. One example of this is where inability to breathe through your nose sets a cascade of structural changes in our face and associated structures. Some of these changes could be smaller nostrils and nasal passages, high and narrow palate, teeth crowding, retruded jaw position, TMJ clicking, headaches and muscle pain, forward head posture, neck pain, airway restriction or obstruction, excessive daytime sleepiness, weight gain etc. Our genetics play a role in how we adapt to these pressures, that is why not everybody develops symptoms or develops maladaptive changes the same way.
How can we help?
As opposed to treating the symptoms, we have the ability to intervene at both the preventative stage and corrective stage of development, and the type of therapy depends on the age of the patient. With proper education we can minimize the impact that living in a modern world has on our development and it all can start with proper education at pregnancy. If functional and/or structural changes have already occurred, we enter the corrective stage of therapy. Understanding epigenetics and knowing how to harness its potential we can reverse some of the changes and direct development in the right direction, however that takes a multidisciplinary approach and awareness of the public.