Epigenetic dentistry is a new discipline. Few dentists in Naples, Florida, or even the country, offer it, and those who do often call it something else. They think that the name might be intimidating or unclear to potential patients.

So we’re not surprised that many of our patients have questions about epigenetic dentistry. We’ve compiled some of the most common questions here and provide answers so you understand what to expect when visiting the Massa Dental Center in Naples, FL.

What is Epigenetic Dentistry?

Epigenetic dentistry utilizes the insights of epigenetics to improve the form, function, and health of your teeth. This means we do what we can to alter the environment affecting your mouth and jaw. These controlled changes trigger responses in your body that lead to positive health effects.

How is Epigenetics Different from Genetics?

Epigenetics and genetics are closely related. “Epi” means above, on, or in addition to. So when we talk about epigenetics, we are talking about things that are related to your genes but aren’t actually your genes. 

Most often, the goal of epigenetics is to alter the expression of your genes. We aren’t changing your genes; we’re just changing how they are expressed.

Is Epigenetic Orthodontics Real?

Yes! Epigenetics is very real and effective. We understand the skepticism since epigenetic dentistry is little more than ten years old, and it takes time for people to become aware of these amazing advances. At Massa Dental Center in Naples, FL, we have achieved great results with epigenetic orthodontics. Though some of our patients were initially skeptical, we won them over with their great results. 

The interesting thing is that all orthodontics is essentially epigenetic. We knew that the body would respond if we applied forces in certain ways. As we understood the mechanism better, we realized that the forces don’t have to be metal brackets and wires. They might be clear plastic aligners. Or they might be specific appliances combined with your own tongue, cheeks, and other soft tissues. 

Our epigenetics understanding also shows that orthodontics can accomplish many more effects than we used to think. More about that in a moment.

Can Epigenetics Change Your Appearance?

Yes! Epigenetics is the expression of your genetic code, and by properly controlling the expression of those genes, we can influence your appearance. However, we are currently limited to working with certain genetic mechanisms already active at treatment. 

Because your bones can respond to external forces to grow in certain ways, we can stimulate them to achieve growth. This growth can change your appearance. In addition to straightening teeth and closing gaps between teeth, epigenetics can help us address a receding chin or sunken face by stimulating bone growth.

Does Epigenetic Dentistry Work For Adults?

Yes! People have the same mistaken idea about epigenetic dentistry that they have about orthodontics: that they only work for children and teens.

At Massa Dental Center in Naples, FL, we recommend epigenetic dentistry for children and teens, in part, because this is when we have the most genes active, and the body is most responsive to stimulation. Intervening in jaw growth as it happens, for example, can achieve better results than changing the jaw after growth is finished. However, adults can still achieve good results utilizing epigenetic dentistry.

How long does epigenetic orthodontics take?

As we explained above, essentially all orthodontics is epigenetic. This means that epigenetic dentistry can achieve its results in a similar amount of time to traditional dentistry. 

How long epigenetic orthodontics takes for you depends on the complexity of your case and your age. We can achieve some results at Massa Dental Center in Naples, FL, in six months or less. Others might take several years. In general, adults take longer to complete orthodontic treatment than children. We will evaluate your treatment goals and current health during your consultation. Then we’ll let you know how long treatment might take for you.

Are epigenetic dentistry effects permanent?

Yes and no. As with all orthodontic treatments, epigenetic orthodontics has the potential to give lifelong results. Traditional orthodontics relies on retainers to try to maintain its results. Without retainers, teeth can drift out of place again. 

With epigenetic orthodontics, you may also get a retainer. You will likely receive instructions about exercises that can help you maintain your epigenetic dentistry results. We recommend follow-up visits at the Massa Dental Center in Naples, FL, or, potentially, with a local dentist if you traveled from out of town for treatment. 

If you follow instructions, you can maintain your results for life.

Besides orthodontics, how else is epigenetics used in dentistry?

Because of the close alignment between epigenetics and traditional orthodontics, epigenetic orthodontics has had widespread success. However, there are other places where dentists apply epigenetics. Dentists are researching epigenetics in periodontics, endodontics, and tooth development.

Is epigenetics used in other areas of medicine?

Epigenetic medicine is an exciting area of research, and people are applying it in many areas. The biggest area of research is related to cancer, but people are looking at epigenetics for developmental medicine, drug research, psychology, and sociology.

Will epigenetic dentistry change my genes?

No. Epigenetic dentistry does not create mutations in your genetic code. Instead, epigenetics changes the way your body expresses some of its genes. There is no danger that epigenetic dentistry will negatively impact your genetic code.

Learn More about Epigenetic Dentistry in Naples, FL

If you are interested in the potential benefits of epigenetic dentistry but still have questions, the epigenetic dentists at Massa Dental Center in Naples, FL, have answers. 

You can submit questions using our online contact form or call (239) 282-4373 to schedule an appointment at Massa Dental Center in North Naples near the Tiburon Golf Club.