What does functional orthodontics mean?
The human body is one inseparable organism. There is no such thing as oral health, sleep health or any sub-health of any organ, or body part.
Meet Dr Gabor Hermann, the father of craniofacial functional medicine and health-centered functional orthodontics, Functional orthodontist, sleep dentist, practicing in his private orthodontic office in Budapest, Hungary.
Dr Hermann graduated in 1991 and got his dental and orthodontic degrees at Semmelweis University in Budapest. Early in his career he practiced general and esthetic dentistry. He was introduced to gnathology and CR-CO dentistry. In 2003 after a David Sarver presentation he started to treat facial asymmetries.
Over the early 2000s he started practicing Invisalign, lingual orthodontics and microimplant orthodontics. He also started practicing Damon technique. Dr Hermann started giving lectures in aligner orthodontics, interdiscipliany collaboration and Damon technique in particular. In the search of treating facial asymmetries non-surgically he started to apply bodywork and orofacial myofunctional therapy.
In 2008 he met Dr Darick Nordstrom and Dr Hermann started to pratice ALF and Dr Nordstrom’s Interface treatment philosophy. Later, as a member of the organisations IFUNA and AAMS Dr Hermann got involved with the scientific groups working in craniofacial functional teamwork. He studied cranial osteopathy in the USA and in France. He studied dental sleep medicine from Steve OImos. As a member of these functional groups he developed the concept of craniofacial functional medicine and health centered functional orthodontics. He gave several presentations on this subject. He became an evangelist of introducing health as a superior treatment objective of an orthodontic treatment. One of the fields of his interest is the future of the orthodontic specialty and the paradigm shift in the treatment concept.
Matter of fact that orthodontic specialty is not uniform anymore, that is why Dr Hermann proposed a new definition for the orthodontic specialty and to introduce definitions for each orthodontic treatment category. He finished general dentistry in 2002 and he has been treating according to the health-centered orthodontic paradigm and dental sleep medicine (and TMD) exclusively since 2020.
DR. HERMANN’S APPROACH
I believe that the human body is one indivisable organism. There is no such thing as oral health, sleep health, or any “sub-health” of any organ or body-part. We need to look at chronic diseases as a manifestation of a functional imbalance of the individual. Therefore, the treatment will focus on the restoration of the functional balance. This is actually a type of functional medicine. This is where craniofacial functional medicine originates.
As a functional orthodontist I treat my patients according to this principle. Bite problems are neither genetic nor isolated. They are only a representation of a global problem. Therefore, as a functional orthodontist I am convinced that the restoration of functional balance is not a one man show. A multifactorial problem can only be solved at a multilateral level.
I have become a member of an interdisciplinary team that looks at malocclusions, bite problems as one manifestation of the functional imbalance. In the teamwork my role is to create sufficient place for the tongue, to stabilise oral and craniofacial functions and reflexes and to establish better breathing and sleep.
As a member of an interdisciplinary team I have realized how responsible I am for the general health of my patients. This is the fundamental principle of health centered functional orthodontics.
As a member of a functional medical team I have realised how fantastic and effective this teamwork is in providing remedy for patients far beyond dental and bite problems. This functional teamwork is a minimally invasive and extremely effective tool for the prevention and curing of chronic diseases. So I have become an evangelist of craniofacial functional medicine and I work on the development of standardised protocols in the field.
Definition of craniofacial functional medicine
How can we translate this information into the specialty what we have been practicing? We have to admit that what we see at a local level is just one manifestation of an impaired global system.
In western medicine we have been taught to label a symptom and fight with the symptom that we recognize. The blood pressure, blood sugar level, cholesterol, breathing issues, sleep apnoe, malocclusion. If we accept that these problems are related anyhow, we have to find a global solution. For example an interdisciplinary teamwork.
But what is the name of the treatment that is delivered by the teamwork?
If we put dentistry, OMT, ENT, breathing re-education and bodywork together and we start treating life threatening problems, like OSA, this is not dentistry, OMT, ENT, or any singular specialty anymore. This is going to be a medicine.
A medicine that looks for deeper roots of the problem that we recognize at a specialist level. However, we have to find an appropriate name for this.
Actually we don”t have to invent the wheel again. There is already a type of medicine that has been treating its patients according to the principle: Treat the cause, not the symptom. This is called Functional Medicine.
That is how we can involve our work into Functional Medicine. The craniofacial interdisciplinary teamwork is going to be a part of Functional Medicine. The human body is one inseparable organism. There is only one health, so consequently there is only one medicine. We functionally oriented dentists, ENTs, OMTs, sleep specialists and bodywork therapists are essential part of a functional medical teamwork, called:
Craniofacial Functional Medicine