The Best Adult Palate Expander in Existence
The Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance - What is it?
The Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance (AGGA), also known as the Controlled Arch Appliance, is an orthodontic tool used to create bone growth in the jaws and face.
This bone growth allows the maxilla, mandible, and airway to achieve a size sufficient for them to function together in a healthy way.
Most dentists believe that orthognathic surgery is necessary to achieve the amount of facial growth that this orthodontic device is capable of creating.
Who invented it? When?
The Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance, also known as Controlled Arch Orthodontics, was developed by Dr. Steve Galella DDS beginning in the 1990s.
It seems to be more widespread in Australia than anywhere else. It is now beginning to gain popularity in the United States, and courses on it are being taught at Las Vegas Institute Global, a popular post-graduate dental learning institute.
How does AGGA work?
The appliance provides a subtle stimulus to soft tissue in the maxilla (upper jaw).
The body responds to this stimulus by depositing bone "three dimensionally" in the maxilla, mandible and elsewhere in the face. It is similar to the way that the body responds to a bone break by depositing bone to heal the fracture.
How is AGGA different from traditional palate expanders?
Traditional palate expanders attempt to expand the maxilla by exerting forces on teeth. In this sense, they are "mechanical." They attempt to expand using brute force.
Most dentists rightly believe that palate expansion in adults is dangerous and difficult using traditional orthodontic palate expanders.
At age 26, I underwent treatment with a 3-way sagittal expander. This treatment failed.
By applying force to my teeth, this appliance caused my teeth to pivot in their sockets. No bone growth was achieved. On the contrary, I suffered so much bone loss in my upper molars that I had to abort treatment after 7 months of attempted expansion.
Treatment with the Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance is a physiological, not mechanical, process. It takes advantage of the body's natural ability to deposit bone in response to trauma, micro-trauma or soft tissue stimulus.
Physiological vs. Mechanical Expansion
Essentially, the AGGA plays the role of an ideally functioning tongue.
By nature, humans are supposed to breath from their noses. This makes it possible to breast feed and breath at the same time.
The function of breast feeding causes an infant to develop the habit of pressing the tongue up against the roof of the mouth both at rest and during activity.
This proper tongue posture is the result of the infant training the tongue to perform the task of reaching up with the tongue and lips to suction the mother's nipple.
Drinking from the long, drippy nipple of a bottle is relatively effortless and can be performed with the tongue resting on the floor of the mouth. Bottle feeding causes the tongue to become weak and lazy.
The tongue, pressed on the roof of the mouth, provides a stimulus to the soft tissue of the maxilla that creates three dimensional bone growth throughout the face. Such an ideally functioning tongue is a natural palate expander.
The Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance serves as an artificial tongue. It stimulates the soft tissue of the palate in the same way that an ideally functioning tongue does. Even for an adult, the body responds to this soft tissue stimulus by depositing bone throughout the face.
Jumpstarting the Cycle of Facial Health
You can think of the Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance as a catalyst. It stimulates bone growth and makes your mouth bigger. This gives your tongue the space it needs, and which it never had, to function properly.
When the tongue functions properly, it begins stimulating the soft tissue of the palate and creating more bone growth. More bone growth leads to more space in the mouth and better tongue function.
This back-and-forth continues until genetically optimal form and function of the cranio-facial complex are both achieved. And because better form leads to better function, the initial treatment with this appliance facilitates the tongue, head and neck habits that are necessary to maintain palatal expansion long after the appliance is removed.
The AGGA is simply the gateway into this cycle.
The Cycle of Morbidity
There is a complex interconnection between the jaws, airway, and neck. So imbalance in one of them leads to a cycle of poor form and function in all of them.
Consider the following statement by Dr. Anne-Maree Cole, a dentist skilled in using the AGGA to treat patients. On page two of her article titled "Born Beautiful: It is Never Too Late," Dr. Cole states that:
The cranio-facial system is a complex system. The parts that make up that system are...independent yet interdependent and there are flows of information between the parts. What makes it complex is that it adapts or more correctly mal-adapts.
As an infant, failure to develop tongue habits that allow the tongue to function as a natural palate expander sets in motion a chain of "mal-adaptions."
Undersized jaws result in a lack of space for the tongue. This causes the tongue to become bunched up in the throat, especially during sleep, which results in obstructive sleep apnea.
The body adapts to this inability to breath by adopting a compressed neck posture, which helps to open up the airway by bringing the tongue out of the throat. The side effect of this postural mal-adaptation is constant strain on the muscles and nerves of the neck which, in my case, resulted in chronic migraines.
Is the Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance for You?
Anyone with undersized jaws stands to benefit from the AGGA. Here are some symptoms of undersized jaws:
Do you have chronic migraines that emanate from your neck?
Do you suffer from sleep disordered breathing?
Are you a chronic mouth breather, suffering from all the resulting side effects such as excessive cavities, bad breath, and dry mouth?
Do you feel like you don't have enough space in your mouth to chew your food?
Do your jaws feel aesthetically disproportionate to the rest of your head and face? Becoming more beautiful is just the icing on the cake of increased health that the Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance delivers.