Sunday, January 30, 2011

The DNA Appliance Has Just Arrived

It has well and truly begun. I received the appliance January 27, 2011 and have by now worn it three nights.

DNA Appliance in this instance stands for "Do Not Adjust" Appliance (*See correction below). There is some contradiction in terms here because you do in fact adjust the appliance periodically. I'm going to assume however they are using the term adjustment in the sense of orthodontic adjustments- like when people have traditional braces and go in for their monthly "adjustments" where the pressure on the teeth gets tightened. That is what they called it when I was a kid. And with the DNA Appliance you are not subject to that kind of adjustment.

Obviously "DNA Appliance" is also a catchy name for marketing purposes and serves to reinforce that it is coming from the field of Epigenetics. 

* 10/20/11 Correction: Apparently the information I received early this year about the name of the appliance is incorrect. It is NOT called "Do Not Adjust". DNA actually stands for "Daytime-Nighttime Appliance™"

 In the photo above note the Y-shaped divisions in the appliance. Note the metal device in the center. Periodically a small tool will be inserted into the metal device and the appliance will spread slightly at the lines of division. This will slightly spread the palate at the bony sutures (see previous blog post "What Is Epigenetic Orthodontics?"), and new bone will grow into the gap that was created, gradually reshaping the mouth.

In this second view we see what might be assumed to be a retaining wire across the front, such as found in traditional orthodontic retainers. But that is not the case. There is actually a substantial gap between my two front teeth and that wire. I believe the wire defines the position my teeth will be in by the time therapy is finished. Note also the ziggurat-like wires in the front. These are springy and touch the backs of the front teeth. However the pressure against the tooth is extremely slight and is hardly noticed.

I was instructed by the doctor that it is optimal to wear the appliance 16 hours a day. It is not necessary to wear it during working hours but should be worn otherwise. If I can achieve this optimal schedule, I should be finished with the therapy in a matter of months. If I cannot, it will extend the therapy perhaps to a year or more. I was also told that due to the timing of our natural biorhythms the bone cells we are trying to grow will not be active during work hours even if the appliance were to be in, so there is no reason to try and push it beyond the 16 hours/day.  In other words the cells will grow during the resting and sleeping periods, but not during times of high activity.

The appliance must be removed for eating, however.

Cleaning is to be done by rinsing and a denture-type soak. The DNA Appliance is not to be brushed.

More to follow in the next blog post.


  1. Rick,
    Thanks for sharing your post. I am very curious as to how you are making out with the DNA appliance, now that you have had it for two months? I am also curious as to the costs associated with this appliance?

    I go to the dentist next Wednesday, as I am pursuing an advanced lightwire functional (ALF) which also works similarly to the DNA appliance, as it is a jaw expander. It sounds like the DNA appliance is a "step ahead" of it, although I question if the ALF could achieve a similar result? Would love to know how you are doing!

  2. Hi Chris,

    I just had a nice detailed reply composed and the @#$%& blogger comment function lost it as I tried to post it. I'm going to be real brief writing it again, because I have to go.

    Everything is going fine. I see the dentist about every week for slight adjustments to the fit. She grinds down the plastic to do that. In addition either she or I turns the adjustment screws 1/4 turn. The gap between the plates I now estimate as now 1.5-2mm approx- which indicates how much bone growth is occurring. I think I can see some difference in the alignment of my uppers, but none in the lowers, which is as expected at this early stage.

    The price I was charged was $8000.

    Have to run. Let me know if you have more questions.

  3. Hey Rick,
    Is the appliance painful to wear? Do you feel like you can breathe better after two months?

  4. Hi Matt,

    The only thing like pain I have felt was last week. Between the adjustments to the appliance, and the slight growth of my palate that has occurred so far, the appliance started to touch an area of gum tissue and it became irritated. The dentist previously instructed me to let her know if anything like that occurred, so I did. She took me in right away and did a little grinding on the appliance and it was fine. Breathing wise I haven't noticed a difference yet, but I was not having breathing problems to begin with. I do snore lightly (not loudly) and do not have sleep apnea. I am told my snoring patterns has not changed yet, but it it still early in the treatment.

  5. Rick, is the $8000 only for the upper appliance or is the lower included as well? What happens if you lose it or damage it? Will they make a new one for you without charge or is it gonna cost you another $8000? I'm interested in having this ortho treatment but it sounds very expensive!! Why the need to be so expensive I wonder?

  6. Also do you ever wake up with sore teeth/tmj from biting down on the appliance while you sleep?

  7. Hi ym,

    To your second question, I have not experienced any pain or soreness, other than when it started to rub some soft tissue and the dentist needed to adjust it. After adjustment it was fine. The main bothersome thing was that it's obtrusive and it took a couple days to adjust how I swallow. And it does make you talk funny because your tongue does not contact the roof of your mouth as usual. I had to re-learn how to make some consonant sounds and even so, I sound a bit 'strokey' with the piece in. However, I'm not much of a talker anyway, so to me it's not a big deal.

    As of now it is not known whether I will require a lower appliance or not. We are proceeding as though the upper alone will suffice. I have not been told if a lower appliance will add a charge or if it's included in the package. However the dentist has said more than once that when the uppers are right, the lowers should naturally follow into a new alignment, because of the pressure the uppers exert on the lowers. Of course this is MY case, and I have no idea if it's valid to generalize what the next person might need.

    I haven't been informed what the charge will be if I lose/damage it. But they are so adamant I be careful with it, I suspect the charge would be substantial. I treat it like an $8000 appliance, so I am REAL careful with it.

    I don't know the breakdown on 'where the money goes, and I'm sure the correct answer would be quite complex, but it seems that virtually everything medical or dental these days is far more expensive than you would ever imagine it should be- and getting more expensive every day. I calculated once that an hour in the chair with the dentist getting a procedure done cost approx 1 week (40 hours) of my pay. So an hour of their time is worth 40 hours of my time. How we arrived at that economic state could fill books, I'm sure. Is it a bubble? Perhaps. The future will tell.

    I fear for the future, with the increasing gap between 'haves' and 'have nots'. Every year, increasing numbers of U.S. citizens are going to be unable to afford reasonable medical and dental treatment. Most people are getting poorer at the same time rising medical costs far outpace inflation. I fear where it will end.

    Actually one of the reasons I chose to do this procedure is that I'm hoping to hedge the future by preventing the need for some kinds of dental work 20 or more years from now when it may simply be impossible to afford as opposed to 'just' extremely difficult to afford as it is now. If I can go into my 70's or 80's with strong, well formed jaws and teeth, I may be a lot better off than if I had let my dentition continue the path it was on. Because what's a big dental procedure going to cost then? $100,000?

  8. I just wanted to add a comment here to mention thanks for you very nice ideas. Blogs are troublesome to run and time consuming thus I appreciate when I see well written material. Your time isn’t going to waste with your posts. Thanks so much and stick with it No doubt you will definitely reach your goals! have a great day!
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  9. Hi there Rick, I am currently working with my dentist in ordering the DNA Appliance tomorrow. I am truly looking forward to the end results as well. I do not have a sleeping disorder or a breathing problem. My dentist felt that the DNA Appliance would be best for straightening my teeth and jaw structure. Your blog has been very helpful, Thank you.

  10. Thank you, Elizabeth. Feel free to keep us posted on anything not already covered here that might be helpful to readers.

  11. Four years ago I had my lower jaw moved forward during a 24 month orthodontic treatment. When the braces came off I was happy with the fact the teeth were straightened but very unhappy with the overall aesthetics. I have a cross bite where my lower jaw is shifted to one side when I smile. On a profile view my chin appears too far out. I have lost feeling and have constant burning in my chin and lower lip. I'm considering the DNA appliance to address the cross bite and to try and make the chin look less prominant by having the area above and below my lips move outward to improve the profile. Notthing can be done to address the burning pain, my crooked smile or droopy lip from the post operative nerve damage.

  12. Wow Beachin, that is quite a lot to go through. I'm assuming your original problem was something more than just common malocclusion. I did not realize conventional orthodontics sometimes creates problems like you describe. But then again you used the term "post operative" so I'm guessing we are talking about something beyond orthodontic appliances. Do you know if the problem with the pain is originating in the temporal-mandibular joint (TMJ)?

    It would be interesting to follow your case if you go with DNA appliance treatment. Perhaps you would consider creating your own blogspot blog and we can link up.

    If a consultation with a DNA practitioner proves fruitless, let us know. I could make a blog entry on your situation.

    Thanks for your comments.

    1. Hi Rick I came across this site years after you blogged while researching palate expansion. I too had braces for 21 months and was the worst thing I could have done. My bite is now way off, I have a huge gap between my molars that catches lots of food constantly, my facial symmetry is off, I can't close my lips too well because my bottom teeth protrude. None of these problems before the braces. I just had mild crowding. My question is, how are you doing post treatment of DNA??? You think I can be helped with it? Where can I find a certified dentist?

  13. Rick,

    Thank you for your posting. I've just received my DNA Appliance via Dr. Felix Liao of Falls Church, VA. I'm quite excited about the prospect of positively impacting my Upper Airway Resistance problem.
    Don't sweat the $100,000 treatment. As long as Ben Barnacke cannot print tons of more 'fiat money' and the gov't cannot takeover the dissemination of quality healthcare we're safe (a whole new thread : )
    Wishing grand success for you.



    1. Hi Jay, I just came across your post and wondered if you would mind giving an update on your progress with both the DNA appliance and with Dr. Liao. We are considering working with him for my son and I would love to learn about your experiences. Thank you! Risa

  14. Hi. Do you know how the DNA appliance is different from other expanders? Thank you.

  15. Thank you for creating this blog!! I just got my DNA appliance about 3 weeks ago, and I have had a bit of a different experience, if you don't mind me sharing.

    I went into this with no breathing problems, just some sinusy pressure from allergies here and there. This sounds insane for it only having been 3 weeks, but I can feel my sinuses opening up.

    As far as pain goes, its more like pressure in your mouth. My jaw was pretty sore at first, and I have been waking up at night, clenching down on the appliance. As Rick said though, the dentist is going to adjust that when I go in a few days. With that said, about the clenching, I have been getting headaches in the morning from it. Its nothing that can't be fixed though.

    Personally, this is a precursor to getting Invisalign, which makes it WAY more than worth the money! It was explained to me that if I didn't do this first, and just preceeded with Invisalign, I would be wearing a retainer for the rest of my life. With this, it fixes the problem at the root, and the retainer will only be necessary for a short time. Also, my dentist was very flexible, and bundled everything together (about a year of the DNA and 6 months of Invisalign) for $6,700. I'm not sure if it was because Invisalign was included, but its still all ortho, my insurance covers $2,500 of that.

    For people who are thinking about doing this, prepare to have your mind blown by everything the doctors can tell you, just from looking at your preliminary 3-D scan, pictures, etc. I'm really excited to see everything in the end!

    1. Hi, just came across this blog and wanted to know how satisfied are you with your DNA appliance? I'm considering getting one to correct bad orthodontic results. Also, how did you find a certified practitioner? I'm a 38 year old female that wore traditional braces for 2 years to correct mild crowding and ended up with a myriad of problems and now really regret ever getting anything done!!!!