The Role of the Craniofacial Orthodontist
I have been very fortune in my over 25 year’s association with Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University Health to have served in many different capacities, both in teaching, service, research, and administration. By far and above my most favorite time has been as a member of the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Cleft and Craniofacial team. As both a board certified pediatric dentist and board certified orthodontist, my role with the team has varied greatly.
Initially, I spent most of my time dealing with infant orthopedics (shaping of the bones of the mouth), most notably obturator therapy, but more recently with something called nasoalveolar molding therapy. Now however, my main activity with the team is as the Chief of Orthodontics. Most parents are very pleased once they learn of the multiple options that orthodontics can provide for their children. From fabricating intraoral splints for use in surgical repositioning, to treating eight to ten year olds with early orthodontic care involving cross bite correction and alignment of anterior teeth, to setting up the patient prior to secondary tooth bone grafting; to comprehensive orthodontics in early and late adolescent stages prior to jaw surgery and replacement of teeth; orthodontics has much to offer for the teen patient with a craniofacial problem.
The interdisciplinary team nature of our practice and the ability to work in the wonderful facilities associated with Riley at IU Health makes my activities with the team a great pleasure that I look forward to continuing as long as I am associated with Indiana University. And at this stage of my career, I can’t see ever leaving!
Author of this Article
Jeffrey A. Dean, DDS, MSD
Ralph E. McDonald Professor of Pediatric Dentistry, Indiana University School of Dentistry
Trained in both Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Dr. Dean oversees the management of craniofacial patients needing pre-surgical orthodontics and works with the faculty and residents in treatment planning and dental education.