What is dentofacial epigenetics?

It’s complex but we’ll keep this simple.

Our genes are a long helix of DNA that houses the code which guides our development. How our genes express defines who we are and how we look. 

It’s commonly thought that our genes dictate our biology. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Believing this would be subscribing to a victim mentality and I’m all about us all, as individuals, reclaiming our power. Just because you have a family history of diabetes, heart disease or ulcerative colitis, it does not mean that you will get this too. 

So how can we stop being victims of our heredity?


Epigenetics is the science of influencing how our genes behave or express themselves.

DNA is actually wrapped around proteins call histones. And the DNA and histones are covered in lots of chemical tags. This is called the epigenome. Science has confirmed that the epigenome is able to shape the physical structure of the genome.

Did you know that by simply changing the food we eat we can change how our genes express in 6 weeks!

So we all have the code housed in our genes. This “genotype” determines how we are coded to function. Yet environmental influences, known as our “phenotype” act on our epigenome to shape how our genes are expressed. For instance, spending many hours at the beach can cause a tan. Over many years, this can result in darker skin, poor skin quality and increased risk of skin cancer. 

What is also interesting is that many of our genes never have their codes read and expressed. They are “sleepers”. In addition to shaping how our genes express, epigenetics can also wake up or activate the sleeping genome.

So what dentofacial epigenetics does is:

  1. using a removable functional appliance, we can send a signal to stem cells housed in the jaw bone and the periodontal ligament that surrounds teeth. 
  2. the mechanical stimulus of the appliance activates mechanoreceptor tags in the epigenome of these stem cells
  3. a cascade of chemical reactions results in new (previously unread) genes being expressed that result in the differentiation of the stem cells into osteoblasts (cells that lay down bone)
  4. bone deposition occurs and the bones begin to grow to their full potential.

It’s important to understand that because we are signalling stem cells, we are tapping into the original code in your genes, not one which is affected by environmental influences. So we are able to unlock the full development potential that was originally encoded in you.

It’s incredible science, brilliant technology and it’s a privilege for me to be able to offer this to my patients.