AGGA: Jaw Expansion Treatment

We’re guessing that you’ve been told you need jaw surgery. How’d we know? Well, it’s because we have a lot of patients who come to us who’d also like to avoid surgery.

And when someone tells you that you’ll need a major operation just to be able to live and feel good, it’s natural to see if there’s a less invasive option out there.

Ready for the good news? There is a surgery-free option!

The even better news is we offer it right here at Downtown Dental Nashville. Thanks to Dr. Clark’s advanced post-doctorate training, he’s able to reduce breathing problems, severe TMD, and even improve facial structure without the need for painful surgeries.

In order to achieve these results without surgery, we’re able to offer a couple of different treatment options for you, depending on your specific needs.

We’re betting you haven’t heard of the acronyms FAGGA or AGGA when it comes to correcting a misaligned jaw and a bad bite. It’s a dental term that stands for Fixed Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance worn by adults to expand their dental arches (aka the crescent arrangements of teeth).

You might also hear it referred to as AGGA. Or even RAGGA which stands for Removable Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance and is typically used for children who are still developing their adult teeth. While the device might look pretty similar to a wired retainer, it actually expands the upper arch and has been described as a bone growth or remodeling appliance.

How does AGGA work?

The device is fixed to your back teeth (which means you can’t remove it for the duration of the treatment—much like braces) and it stimulates an area of the upper palate to stimulate bone growth in children or bone remodeling in adults. What this means is that when used in conjunction with myofunctional therapy the appliance changes the shape of the palate, allowing more room for the tongue and allowing the lower jaw to come forward. When remodeling or growth occurs the lower arch will change shape in tandem to couple the teeth.

This maxillary expansion of the jaw or jawbone is not only done to make room for the crowded teeth in your bite but it also creates more tongue space, opens your airway, and moves your face in a forward direction (which makes your cheekbones, eyes, nose, and lower jaw look more aligned) to give you a more symmetrical profile.

Improving Breathing is Good for Everyone, So It’s Good for You Too!

In addition to the AGGA creating more functional space in the airway, myofunctional therapy focuses on achieving proper nasal breathing, tongue posture, and lip seal and helps improve the functionality of the muscles in the face, mouth, and throat. Improved airway space and nasal breathing, extends lifespan and can dramatically improve your quality of life.

Why AGGA for TMJ?

The growth and development of your upper arch dictate the compensatory growth and development of your lower jaw and your lower jaw position affects compression of the TMJ and crowding of soft tissue in your airway. AGGA appliance treatment and Controlled Arch orthodontic treatment can reduce symptoms or heal TMD and it does it without the need for jaw surgery! Additionally, the treatment can address facial aesthetic concerns.

How long does it take for AGGA to work?

For patients with severe TMD symptoms, Phase I orthotic therapy is used to reduce symptoms and stabilize the TMD. AGGA is then one option for Phase II therapy to enhance and expand on the results offered in Phase I and make the new bite position permanent. Other patients are able to go straight into Phase II AGGA treatment!

There are two parts to AGGA treatment that will guide the teeth and muscles into their optimum positions:

Growth Phase: AGGA appliance with approximately 3-10 months of bone remodeling in adults and growth in children

Controlled Arch Braces: approximately 12-18 months of braces

In general, the process takes 18-25 months depending on the individual’s needs.

Who benefits from AGGA therapy?

Both adults and children can reap the benefits, but you might be an ideal candidate if you:

  • Have been told that you will need jaw surgery
  • Struggle with proper nasal breathing
  • Have sleeping breathing issues like sleep apnea or snoring
  • Suffer from TMD symptoms
  • Have a poorly developed facial structure (e.g. small/receding chin, shallow cheekbones, lack of lip fullness, shorter collapsed lower 1/3 of the face, or facial elongation)
  • Suffer from symptoms related to forward head posture or upper cervical compression
  • Want to improve body alignment and balance to reduce risk of injury and improve athletic performance

AGGA is also an effective, conservative treatment alternative if you suffer from TMJ pain and headaches, or have an underdeveloped jaw which affects your airway and causes breathing issues.

BOTTOM LINE: the AGGA is a painless, non-surgical way for you to avoid jaw surgery and finally get the relief from TMJ pain, to reduce risk factors for sleep breathing disorders, and to correct a poor bite, all while improving the overall symmetry of your facial structure.