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So What Is an ALF?
To most people, ALF means a little guy who was on TV many years ago and he spoke really good English and had a hairy little alien body. But in reality, ALF stands for “advanced lightwire functional” device, which is a highly advanced dental appliance designed to promote better breathing.
You could also say that the “A” stands for airway development. An ALF allows the palate or roof of the mouth to come down into a more normal position, which means that the nasal passages are less clogged, promoting better breathing. In addition, it gently opens up the back of the throat so it opens the airway in this fashion, too.
The “L” stands for lingual posture of the tongue. What this means is that the tongue will more readily reach the roof of the mouth with an ALF in place, and this promotes better lip seal, which allows for better nasal breathing, which is much healthier than mouth breathing.
The “F” stands for face forward growth. This occurs because the tongue pushes on the wires of the appliance and makes the jaw move forward into a better position.
An ALF is used when a patient has craniofacial pain like head or neck aches. Also, it is very useful in getting the cranial bones more level, which will help reduce that pain. Many people have obvious distortions to their cranial structure.
For example if their eyes or ears are uneven, or the jaw line is not level, this will contribute to pain throughout the entire head and neck region. What an ALF can do is to level out those bones so that the head can be in proper alignment. This will help with proper blood flow, not to mention better CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) flow and better drainage of the lymphatic system.
Think of it like this when the bones get more level, the hoses can become “unkinked” and things flow better. This is a bit of a simple explanation, but it helps patients to understand that the bones of the skull really do need to be nice and level in order for the “drainage” and “pipe” systems to work properly.
An ALF ever so gently does the expansion that is needed, but without any heavy forces. It uses the power of the tongue perhaps the strongest muscle in the entire body to gently nudge things open over the course of a year or so.
An ALF is adjusted once every month to six weeks in a very gentle, easy to handle fashion, and only by about 0.25mm that's it. That very slight activation is what stimulates the tongue to react and push on the loop wires, which in turn allows the arches to expand. This has proven itself to be an important tool in jaw development and pain reduction for many patients.
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