Advanced Lightwire Functionals (A.L.F.)
What is the ALF device?
ALF (Advanced Lightwire Functionals) is a non-traditional orthodontic treatment method that uses principles of cranial osteopathy. The ALF advances (and expands) the maxilla and mandible. This promotes changes in muscle function to achieve long-term physiological results in improving a patient’s spinal alignment, posture, occlusion, TMJ disorders, sensory processing /nervous system dysfunction, arch and palate development, airway reshaping and can result in drastic behavioral and lifestyle changes for both adults and children. 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 it 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 the ALF Appliance Work? What is the ALF Appliance’s mechanism of action?
Critical to understanding the ALF and its function are the principles of epigenetic. There are genetic, early developmental, and functional determinants of mandibular size which then have significant down stream effects 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 to influence the developmental and functional determinants. 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. Two of the pillars of ALF include: Myofunction (OMT, Buteyko Breathing) and Osteopathy. Built on those pillars, patients routinely ‘functionally’ develop their maxilla and mandible to their optimal ‘neutral zone’.
The highly effective, lightweight intervention known as the Advanced Lightwire Functional Device impacts cranial rhythm and movement through osteopathic alignment. 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 focusing on the form and function of the neuro- and viscera-cranium, 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. Thus patients wearing the ALF appliance experienced far-reaching changes in bite, body, brain, and behavior. As Dr. Nordstrom has noted, “With the insertion of the ALF appliance we have seen seemingly unrelated health issues improve or completely resolve.”2 The Advanced Lightwire Functional Orthodontic 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.
What is the A.L.F. Orthodontic Appliance 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.
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.
Manufacturing:The ALF appliance is custom-made by a single laboratory in the USA.
Summary of A.L.F. Appliance Ability to Improve the Following Issues
- Improper positioning of dental arches
- Improper maxillary and/or mandibular development or underdevelopment
- Misalignment of teeth and poor occlusion (aesthetic and functional)
- Swallowing Dysfunction
- Speech Impediments
- 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
- TMJ Disorders
Who can benefit from A.L.F. Orthodontics?
- Children as young as 3 years of age
- Anybody who wants to improve tooth alignment, both for function and aesthetics
- Patients with previous orthodontic treatment that included tooth extractions and/or headgear
- Children and Young Adults with behavioral disorders, including ASD/ADD/ADHD and emotional imbalances
- Individuals who have experienced severe physical trauma or any head/neck injury
- Patients who have experienced or suffer from TMJ/TMD or facial joint inflammation
- Patients who snore and/or suffer from obstructive sleep apnea
- High profile or self conscientious individuals involved public engagements who have orthodontic needs beyond the capabilities of Invisalign® but cannot / do not want the very visible and cosmetic disadvantage of traditional braces
What are the 4 main purposes of the A.L.F. device?
The A.L.F. appliance has a three fold purpose:
- Develop the dental arches to align the teeth and jaw, and the way the jaws work together with appropriate room for the tongue and to improve the bite, preventing grinding and TMJ
- Correct distortions of the maxillae (bone that supports the upper teeth) and mandible;
- Correct distortions of the skull by bringing the cranial bones into good functional & balanced motion;
- Bring together all the above to integrate into proper function which includes breathing, swallowing, speech, deglutition and a balanced autonomic nervous system
By rectifying the areas above, many patients find the orthodontic appliance helps relieve chronic pain and remedy some common physical ailments. Dr. May alongside other osteopathic, functional, naturopathic and chiropractic practitioners have found the ALF to not only help align the teeth and make more room for the jaw and tongue, but it also brought a balance to the cranial bone motion. With that, the ALF brought the tongue into a neutral swallow position and that has been shown to bring the patient into an autonomic nervous system balance, at which point a number of other symptoms seem to go away that were seemingly unrelated.
What is the A.L.F. or ALF Functional Orthodontics Philosophy?
Dr. Nordstrom’s developed a theory that a less intrusive (less bulky), light wire removable appliance would prove more beneficial than more complex and sizable devices available on the market today. The A.L.F. appliance could be fitted to the dental arches and apply a continuous light force to the skull bones, maxilla and teeth. Orthodontic clinical research and treatment results have proven that continuous light forces applied to the teeth and skull bones have a more beneficial effect than applying heavy continuous forces, such as traditional braces.
The Arndt-Schulz Law is well stated in the 26th edition of Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary:
“Weak stimuli increase physiological activity and very strong stimuli inhibit or abolish activity.”
This concept is supported and has been clinically verified by use of homeopathic medicines (more dilute substances cause a strong healing change”, micro-currents [extremely low levels of proper electrical currents cause a greater healing response]), natural vitamin supplements (better healing response), etc. The A.L.F. appliance follows the Arndt-Schultz Law by applying a light, continuous force to the teeth and skull bones, resulting in proper anatomy development and resolution of conflicting osteopathic forces that cause a plethora of issues: TMJ, teeth crowding, facial asymmetry, tongue thrust, airway constriction, snoring, behavioral problems, insomnia, grinding, abnormal dentition, speech impediments, migrants, etc.
The Objectives of the A.L.F. Appliance Therapy include:
- To resolve osteopathic craniafacial health issues and suboptimal facial development
- To address the underlying causes for misaligned/crooked teeth by use of light forces which mimic nature, working in harmony with the body
- Guide, encourage and support straight teeth and broad, beautiful smile development as highly desired ‘side effect’
- Whenever possible use the advantage of cranial and palatal growth by starting ALF and functional orthodontic treatment early, between age 3 to 8
The STRENGTHS of A.L.F. are:
- Transformational – focuses on facial, in addition to oral development; life-altering benefits
- Preserves and improves the airway, preventing/resolving sleep apnea, snoring
- 5-in-1 treatment for all myofascial, orthodontic, TMJ and craniosacral therapy
- Stable – no need for life-long retention
- Cosmetics – mostly invisible (barely visible from the outside)
- Gentle – far less discomfort than with braces, not nearly as painful
- Removable and easy to clean or replace
- Non-allergic – made with solid gold overlays