Orthodontist lectures in California

Published 8:41 pm Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dr. Wayne Sletten of Orthodontic Health Center in Albert Lea, recently lectured at the Amett Multidisciplinary Foundation meeting in San Diego. This foundation supports research for the correction of complex skeletal and dental malocclusions (bad bites and jaws).

Correction of these severe problems involves the coordinated efforts of oral surgeons, orthodontists and restorative dentists. The foundation was formed by Dr. William Amett of The Center For Corrective Jaw Surgery in Santa Barbara, Calif. The center specializes in corrective jaw surgery for severe facial deformities. Their research focuses on new understanding in two important areas, the resorption of jaw joint structure in teenage females and obstructive sleep apnea. These two areas are often related because as jaw joints resorb or degenerate the lower jaw moves backward in the face compromising the effective airway. The Center For Corrective Jaw Surgery has innovated surgical techniques to correct these facial deformities and, thereby, dramatically increase the size of the airway for the correction of sleep apnea. The understanding of significant health issues related to obstructive sleep apnea has exploded in recent years. Improved recognition of OSA now must focus on effective methods of correction. Surgical correction requires the coordinated efforts of orthodontists and oral surgeons.

Dr. Amett, and partner, Dr. Michael Gunson, lead worldwide research in new understanding that jaw joint resorption in teenage females relates to very low estrogen levels and, therefore, compromised cartilage and bone metabolism. This means that recognition of the condition must be understood and followed by estrogen level testing and possible replacement therapies. The condition of progressive condylar resorption first appeared in the literature in 1996. We now see the possibility of stabilizing and correcting a previously unstable condition. The new information is prompting a new focus in communication between orthodontists, oral surgeons, gynecologists and obstetricians to better manage a challenging problem.

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Sletten’s lecture included the challenges and learning that occurred in the successful correction of a patient with severe condylar resorption with related facial deformity and malocclusion. This patient was first seen in 1993, as a teenager, and the treatment was successfully completed in 2008. The treatment, in coordination with The Center For Corrective Jaw Surgery, corrected the facial deformity and restored an ideal occlusion of “bite.”

The meeting was held Jan. 22-24 and was attended by 80 dental specialists from 10 different countries. Twenty-three lectures were presented.