What is an ALF device?
ALF (Advanced Lightwire Functional) is a non-traditional orthodontic treatment method that uses principles of cranial osteopathy. It is gentler, safer, and more biologically balanced than any “palatal expander” provided by traditional orthodontists. The ALF advances (and expands) the mandible and promotes changes in muscle function to achieve long-term physiological results. These changes can be seen by an improvement in a patient’s posture, airway, occlusion, TMJ disorders, sensory processing, nervous system regulation, arch and palate development. Most importantly, the ALF bio-modulates the autonomic nervous system, making this a highly effective therapy and “go-to” treatment for patients and specifically, children with sensory and nervous system dysfunction such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD.
While the ALF addresses alignment of the facial, spinal and cranial bones using principles of cranial osteopathy is continues to be an effective method to align teeth in (in early childhood to early teens) and improve the bite without traditional braces (orthodontic treatment).
How does an ALF work?
There are genetic, early developmental, and functional determinants of jaw size, which then have significant effects on growth, such as maxillary development, airway development and cranial growth. Depending on the patient’s age, gene mutations (like MTHFR), tissue abnormalities (tongue and lip ties), and other compensations, the ALF Appliance is used to influence the development and function of the jaw and other cranial structures. For some patients, the remodeling of the craniofacial bones, including airway remodeling and cranial sutures, can be slow, for others, more rapid, depending on their metabolism and unresolved traumas. Either way, looking at the properly treated patient over time, the changes are naturally-beautiful and inspiring.
The Advanced Lightwire Functional Deviceis a lightweight appliance that uses osteopathic alignment to impact cranial rhythm. This novel approach to orthodontic systems works to integrate cranial mobility with the palate, teeth, and jaw alignment, thereby promoting better swallowing, breathing, speech, sleep and nervous system response. By reducing cranial strain and allowing proper motion of the bones of the skull, the gentle action of the A.L.F. orthodontic appliance provides a safe sensory stimulus within the mouth that allows for a greater range of neurological regulation to occur, especially through the cranial nerves and the autonomic nervous system. Patients wearing the ALF appliance experience far-reaching changes in bite, body, brain, and behavior.
The ALF appliance is the ultimate craniofacial development therapy in terms of wellness enhancement as the ALF promotes proper facial development, tooth alignment, airway enlargement, improved posture and corrected sensory impulses within the nervous system.
The ALF has been shown to help improve the following conditions:
Improper positioning of dental arches
Improper mandible development or mandible underdevelopment
Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disorders
Airway constriction and breathing problems
Biomodulation of nervous system
Improved sensory and nervous system regulation and response
Cranial Bone Realignment
Suboptimal posture and spinal alignment
Misalignment of teeth and poor occlusion (aesthetic and functional)
What does an ALF look like?
Rather than traditional braces or typical oral expanders, patients receiving the Advanced Lightwire Functional Appliance are fitted with a thin, non-visible, non-reactive metal removable appliance on the lingual (interior) of their teeth, that extends around the lingual surface of the arch from molar to molar. Consensus from both craniofacial medical doctors and functional orthodontic specialists concludes that the ALF Appliance is a combination of many functional appliances, combining the most optimal features from many, all wrapped into one ultimate functional orthodontic appliance.
Material: The ALF is constructed from .025 Elgiloy wire which is a very flexible and resilient metal alloy wire; the wire applies light forces to the teeth. Nickel-free wire is available for patients with sensitivity to nickel.
Structural Elements: Omega loops are bent into the arch wire where expansion or spacing is desired. Crescents are soldered to the wire to assist in retention of the appliance in the premaxillary area. Wire cribs create positive retention on the molars and can be designed for specific molar movement.
Additional Options: Bonded composite can be placed on various teeth to increase appliance retention. Finger springs can be added at the distal ends of the wire to distalize second molars. Individual loops can be used to create specific molar movements.