Craniofacial Orthodontics

The Gelb Center in NYC provides gentle, safe, and effective treatments, including early phase-one treatment for cleft lip and cleft palate reconstruction, and craniofacial orthodontics. We work closely with our patients and their families, as well as other doctors and surgeons to monitor each treatment from start to finish.

Our doctors/orthodontists have the experience and education necessary to deliver cleft lip and palate orthodontic treatments, amongst other craniofacial specialties, by virtue of specific post-residency craniofacial and surgical orthodontic fellowship training. We have clinical expertise in all aspects of orthodontic braces treatment for infants, children, adolescents, and adults with facial clefts, craniofacial diagnoses, and complex medical and special needs. Our doctor and craniofacial orthodontic specialists bring extensive training in, and knowledge of, craniofacial and dental growth and development to deliver successful treatment results.

Orthodontic treatments for patients born with facial differences tend to be more complex than ordinary orthodontics. This multidisciplinary treatment often starts from birth and extends to the late teen years. The young patient may require treatment by multiple specialists, including a craniofacial surgeon, pediatrician, geneticist, neurosurgeon, ENT, speech and language therapist, pediatric dentist, oral surgeon, and prosthodontist.

Our NYC Craniofacial Orthodontics division uses a variety of methods including appliances, splints, and braces. Our orthodontic treatments compliment the patient’s medical treatment to improve surgical outcomes, and in some cases, reduce the need for surgical treatment.

Craniofacial orthodontics is the sub-specialty of orthodontics that focuses on the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary treatment of patients with birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. These conditions often require coordinated surgical and medical interventions or extraordinary behavioral management to make orthodontic treatment practical and effective. Braces treatments for cleft lip and palate patients tend to be more complex, takes more time and clinical resources, and requires working with multiple dental, surgical and medical providers to get the best results. Current practice standards call for a coordinated plan of care between the fellowship-trained craniofacial orthodontists and plastic-craniofacial surgeons – among other specialists – in order to achieve excellent and aesthetic facial results.

We are experienced and confident when working with patients that require craniofacial and special care treatments. Our doctor brings formal craniofacial orthodontic fellowship training combined with prior special care dentistry training and clinical research, and a long-standing interest for caring for the more complex types of jaw and face abnormalities.

If you interested in learning more about Craniofacial Orthdontics please feel contact the best in class specialist, Doctor Michael Gelb’s NYC or White Plains, New York Gelb Center office today.

Dr. Michael Gelb on Craniofacial Orthodontics

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Conditions We Treat

Apert Syndrome

Apert syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones (craniosynostosis). This early fusion prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face. In addition, a varied number of fingers and toes are fused together (syndactyly)

CHARGE Syndrome

CHARGE syndrome is a recognizable genetic syndrome with a known pattern of features. It is an extremely complex syndrome, involving extensive medical and physical difficulties that differ from child to child. Babies with CHARGE syndrome are often born with life-threatening birth defects. They spend many months in the hospital and undergo many surgeries and other treatments. Swallowing and breathing problems make life difficult even when they come home.

Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

Openings or splits in the roof of the mouth and lip. Cleft palate is a common birth condition. It can occur alone or as part of a genetic condition or syndrome. Symptoms arise from the opening in the mouth. They include difficulty speaking and feeding. Surgery restores normal function with minimal scarring. If needed, speech therapy helps correct speaking difficulties.

Cleidocranial Dysplasia

Cleidocranial dysplasia is a condition that primarily affects development of the bones and teeth. Signs and symptoms of cleidocranial dysplasia can vary widely in severity, even within the same family.

Individuals with cleidocranial dysplasia usually have underdeveloped or absent collarbones, also called clavicles (“cleido-” in the condition name refers to these bones). As a result, their shoulders are narrow and sloping, can be brought unusually close together in front of the body, and in some cases can be made to meet in the middle of the body. Delayed maturation of the skull (cranium) is also characteristic of this condition, including delayed closing of the growth lines where the bones of the skull meet (sutures) and larger than normal spaces (fontanelles) between the skull bones that are noticeable as “soft spots” on the heads of infants.

Craniofacial Microsomia

Craniofacial microsomia is a term used to describe a spectrum of abnormalities that primarily affect the development of the skull (cranium) and face before birth. Microsomia means abnormal smallness of body structures. Most people with craniofacial microsomia have differences in the size and shape of facial structures between the right and left sides of the face (facial asymmetry). In about two-thirds of cases, both sides of the face have abnormalities, which usually differ from one side to the other. Other individuals with craniofacial microsomia are affected on only one side of the face. The facial characteristics in craniofacial microsomia typically include underdevelopment of one side of the upper or lower jaw (maxillary or mandibular hypoplasia), which can cause dental problems and difficulties with feeding and speech. In cases of severe mandibular hypoplasia, breathing may also be affected.

Craniofacial Trauma

Craniofacial trauma is a blanket term that refers to an injury of the face or skull. This can refer to skin, bone and teeth injuries as well parts of the mouth, neck and sinuses. Maxillofacial trauma is another name for injuries that primarily affect the facial features.

Craniofacial trauma can range from a minor scrape to lifetime disfigurement. Pediatric craniofacial trauma is treated differently than adult facial trauma, as normal growth and development of the skull and face can be impacted.

Difficult and severe cases of craniofacial trauma require help from a team of pediatric craniofacial doctors and specialists. The state of growth and development in children require special considerations when performing corrective surgery so that the treatment grows with your child.

Craniofacial Tumors

Tumors are abnormal growths of cells that cause lesions or swelling. They can be malignant, pre-malignant or benign. Malignant and pre-malignant tumors are cancerous, while benign tumors are not.

Tumors that occur in the head often show up as lumps or areas of abnormal growth. In some cases, this can cause the displacement of facial structures. Craniofacial tumors in children are often caused by abnormal behavior in the cells responsible for growth. Some occur in the womb, while others do not appear until a child is older.


Craniosynostosis (from cranio, cranium; + syn, together; + ostosis relating to bone) is a condition in which one or more of the fibrous sutures in an infant (very young) skull prematurely fuses by turning into bone (ossification), thereby changing the growth pattern of the skull.

Crouzon Syndrome

Crouzon syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones (craniosynostosis). This early fusion prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face. Many features of Crouzon syndrome result from the premature fusion of the skull bones

Di George Syndrome

A disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22. DiGeorge syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that results in poor development of several body systems. Its features vary widely, even among members of the same family.
The syndrome can cause heart defects, poor immune system function, a cleft palate, and low levels of calcium in the blood.

Fibrous Dysplasia

Fibrous dysplasia is an uncommon bone disorder in which scar-like (fibrous) tissue develops in place of normal bone. This irregular tissue can weaken the affected bone and cause it to deform or fracture.

Goldenhar Syndrome

Goldenhar syndrome (also known as oculo-auriculo-vertebral (OAV) syndrome) is a rare congenital defect characterized by incomplete development of the ear, nose, soft palate, lip, and mandible. It is associated with the anomalous development of the first branchial arch and second branchial arch.

Moebius syndrome

Moebius syndrome is a nonprogressive craniofacial/neurological disorder that manifests itself primarily in facial paralysis. Individuals with Moebius syndrome cannot smile or frown, and do not have lateral eye movements. Many individuals with Moebius syndrome also have skeletal involvement with limb abnormalities or Poland syndrome. People with Moebius syndrome can have respiratory problems, speech and swallowing disorders, visual impairments, sensory integration dysfunction, sleep disorders, weak upper body strength and autism spectrum disorders.

Pfeiffer Syndrome

Pfeiffer syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones (craniosynostosis). This early fusion prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face. Pfeiffer syndrome also affects bones in the hands and feet.

Pierre Robin Sequence

Pierre Robin sequence is a set of abnormalities affecting the head and face, consisting of a small lower jaw (micrognathia), a tongue that is placed further back than normal (glossoptosis), and blockage (obstruction) of the airways.

Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome

Saethre-Chotzen syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones (craniosynostosis). This early fusion prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face.

Most people with Saethre-Chotzen syndrome have prematurely fused skull bones along the coronal suture, the growth line that goes over the head from ear to ear. Other parts of the skull may be malformed as well. These changes can result in an abnormally shaped head, a high forehead, a low frontal hairline, droopy eyelids (ptosis), widely spaced eyes, and a broad nasal bridge. One side of the face may appear noticeably different from the other (facial asymmetry). Most people with Saethre-Chotzen syndrome also have small, unusually shaped ears.

Stickler Syndrome

Stickler syndrome is a group of hereditary conditions characterized by a distinctive facial appearance, eye abnormalities, hearing loss, and joint problems. These signs and symptoms vary widely among affected individuals. A characteristic feature of Stickler syndrome is a somewhat flattened facial appearance.

Treacher Collins Syndrome

An inherited condition in which some bones and tissues in the face aren’t developed. Treacher Collins syndrome is a genetic disorder that most often affects the cheekbones, jaw, chin, and ears. Symptoms include downward-slanting eyes, a very small jaw and chin, hearing loss, and vision loss. Some babies may be born with a hole in the roof of their mouth (cleft palate). Treatment is focused on correcting facial structure and can involve plastic surgery, orthodontics, and dental care.

Van der Woude Syndrome

Van der Woude syndrome is a condition that affects the development of the face. Many people with this disorder are born with a cleft lip, a cleft palate (an opening in the roof of the mouth), or both. Affected individuals usually have depressions (pits) near the center of the lower lip, which may appear moist due to the presence of salivary and mucous glands in the pits. Small mounds of tissue on the lower lip may also occur. In some cases, people with van der Woude syndrome have missing teeth.

People with van der Woude syndrome who have cleft lip and/or palate, like other individuals with these facial conditions, have an increased risk of delayed language development, learning disabilities, or other mild cognitive problems. The average IQ of individuals with van der Woude syndrome is not significantly different from that of the general population.

Velo-cardial-facial Syndrome

A disorder caused by a defect in chromosome 22. DiGeorge syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that results in poor development of several body systems. Its features vary widely, even among members of the same family.
The syndrome can cause heart defects, poor immune system function, a cleft palate, and low levels of calcium in the blood. There’s no cure, but treatments can usually address critical health concerns.

Dr. Michael Gelb

Dr. Michael Gelb, DDS, MS is a world-renowned TMJ and Sleep Specialist with practices in both New York City and White Plains. He received his D.D.S. degree from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and his M.S. from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Gelb is the co-author of GASP: Airway Health- The Hidden Path to Wellness, and the co-founder of both The Foundation for Airway Health and The American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry.

The Gelb Center was founded over 30 years ago by Dr. Michael Gelb’s father, Dr. Harold Gelb. Since then, Dr. Michael has taken his father’s findings to the next level through his Airway Centric® integrated therapy. He invented the ACG™ Airway Centric® System with the help of ProSomnus Sleep Technologies. The ACG System is the first day and night dental appliance solution that offers an integrated approach to addressing airway issues.

Dr. Michael Gelb is dedicated to improving his patients’ health by reducing pain, restoring refreshing sleep and transforming lives.

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Gelb Center NYC Location

635 Madison Avenue
19th Floor
B/W: 59th & 60th Street
New York, NY 10022
P: (212) 752-1662
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Gelb Center White Plains Location

12 Old Mamaroneck Road
Suite 1C
White Plains, NY 10605
P: (914) 686-4528
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Dr. Gelb's Professional Memberships
NYU College of Dentistry
New York State Dental Association
New York County Dental Society
American Dental Association
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
American Academy of Orofacial Pain
American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM)
American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP)
Airway Health
AAPMD Airway Health Professional Association
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