Q&A with POS Instructor Dr. Ben Villalon | The importance of understanding growth

Posted by POS Course Adviser on 10/23/17 10:07 AM

We enjoyed having Dr. Ben Villalon from Texas at POS Headquarters last weekend to teach Seminar 14 of the Dentofacial Orthodontics Series. He explains how individual growth prediction takes the guesswork out of orthodontic treatment in this interview.


Video Transcript

IVETA MERKER: Hello everyone. Today I would like to welcome at our headquarters Dr. Ben Villalon, a pediatric dentist from Houston. Welcome Dr. Ben.

DR. BEN VILLALON: Thank you, glad to be here.

IVETA: It's nice to have you back. So you have been teaching these last four days Seminar #14. How was the class this weekend and what topics were covered?

DR. VILLALON: Well Seminar 14 is one of the advanced classes after the comprehensive series, but of all the seminars it's my favorite because it's all about growth and development and there's so many questions that the students have up to this point and this seminar just sort of puts at rest any issues that they have.

IVETA: What are the most common questions during this seminar?

DR. VILLALON: You know treating kids I think the hardest thing for students or for doctors is trying to decide, well at least at this level, when to start, when to pause and when to delay. Timing is the biggest issue. By the time they've reached Seminar 14, I find that they are already pretty knowledgeable of all the tools that we have to treat children but the question is when to use which tool, and how to combine them and how to sequence them out to make things more efficient for the family for the kid and in their practice.

IVETA: Well that's great I spoke to several students today and they were speaking so highly about this seminar so we can see that you are a pro.

DR. VILLALON: Oh thank you.

IVETA: Being a specialist in the field, how does the individual growth prediction work?

DR. VILLALON: Well individual growth prediction is just that. It's an individualized prediction for your particular patient. So you are able to determine exactly how much growth is coming and you're able to determine when it's coming at any different stage in their growth cycle which is just valuable information when you're trying to time your treatment. We have an estimated system in the comprehensive series which is okay, but with an estimated system you're estimating how much growth is coming and you really don't know when it's going to come, so it's hard to use it accurately for timing your treatment.

IVETA: Dr. Ben, how does it actually work when the doctors are using the growth prediction in their practice?

DR. VILLALON: Well the individual growth system was designed based on a study that Dr. McGann did. He was able to study 250 untreated patients that were growing from the ages of 6 to 20.

IVETA: I remember those times.

DR. VILLALON: Yeah it's just valuable information. I mean to know exactly what's going to happen based on cephalometric values of untreated patients is exactly the information you need when you're trying to determine what's going to happen to your patient. And then he added to that about 450 patients that actually had treatment in mixed dentition or in permanent dentition as teenagers with the different tools that we use – reverse headgear, TPAs and regular headgear - all these treatments that we have for kids and we're able to use that information and tailor it to what our patient is going to do. So that's basically how it works. So there's no estimating as to how your patient's going to respond to reverse face mask or how they're going to respond to a TPA. The numbers are there for you to use.

IVETA: Well no wonder the seminar is so nicely received.

DR. VILLALON: It really takes out all the guesswork so now you can decide whether you even need to start early or not or can it be fixed later.

IVETA: During your years of teaching what would you say, in your opinion, are some of the common errors dentists can make when treating growing patients?

DR. VILLALON: The most common error that I see is having the concept that growth is somehow going to enable you to keep more teeth and most doctors tend to think growth in terms of transverse issues. They just somehow have it in their mind. I think it comes from dental school training probably or even as parents as we see our own kids growing in their faces getting bigger that somehow the teeth are gonna fit and growth just doesn't work that way. It's not a transverse issue. We're not waiting for the jaws to get bigger and hope that more teeth will fit. The real issue with growth is that we're looking at an anterior posterior relationship and so growth is affecting how the jaws are relating to each other in a front to back relationship. Certainly growth can work for us because if we have more growth in the lower jaw coming forward and we use that then certainly we may not have to take out teeth in the upper to make room to bring the top teeth back. So in that sense we can treat with fewer extractions by using growth but not in the sense that we're making more room for the teeth to fit. If the case is crowded and needs extractions, then it needs extractions. But even then, growth can help in terms of how we manage that space.

IVETA: So would you be able to tell us some tips or tricks that you would recommend for the doctors to use in their practice?

DR. VILLALON: Well Seminar 14 for one. The more education you can get the better and don't be afraid to treat mixed dentition especially if you have the growth knowledge. That's probably the best tip I can give. Really get to understand growth and understand what's going to happen to your patient and then everybody wins.

IVETA: I know a lot of doctors are really excited about the Orthodontics for Children series coming up in Houston and Dr. Wier is going to teach the first seminar and you will be teaching the second and just this weekend we had several doctors signing up so thank you so much again for sharing your knowledge.

DR. VILLALON: Thank you I can hardly wait for Seminar 2.

IVETA: And for anyone who is interested in the Dentofacial series, Seminar 15 is coming up with Dr. Polder on February 23- 26, 2018. Dr. Ben thank you so much for being here I know it was your son's birthday this weekend so wish him please happy birthday from us. We hope to see you and your family soon.

DR. VILLALON: Thank you for having me. It's always pleasure.


Have questions about treating growing patients? Ask in the comments!

Topics: Orthodontic Tips, POS Instructor Tips, Growth, POS Family, Mixed Dentition

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