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Dr Joël Defrancq

Dr Joël Defrancq

My credo and my work

Dr Defrancq and orthognathic surgery

Severe malocclusions (‘bad bite’) cause a myriad of functional problems in life. There is the inability to chew food properly and enjoy it, it affects digestion and speech, it may cause facial muscle dysfunction, headaches and joint pain, periodontal problems, bad breath, sleeping and snoring problems, psychological problems, relationship problems, etc. But often there are also aesthetic problems that can vary from frustration to minor or major problems.

Because moving the jaws also inherently moves the teeth, jaw surgery is often, but not always, performed in conjunction with orthodontics. The ultimate aesthetic result very often lies not in the jaw surgery as such, which is merely a technical action, but in the search and effort to achieve the most aesthetic result for your face, including applying all the surgical skills and experience gathered along the way in my professional life. My credo and sincere belief as an orthognathic surgeon is that you treat a face and a patient, not an occlusion, bite or jaw.

My ultimate planning is always based on clinical assessment with a look, feel, and touch of the face. For myself, planning as such has nothing to do with computers, lines and degrees. It has everything to do with facial fluency, profile flow and balance. This balance should be found in the width, depth and height of the face, and within the lips, chin, nose, jaws and cheekbones. There is no surgical substitute for sound clinical judgement, optimal decision-making and proper communication. Experience and empathy are a major part of all this.

Mastering those surgeries get hand in hand with surgeries involving the direct adjacent facial bony area’s. Here comes in the picture the chin,  the cheekbone area’s, the gonial angle definition and expression, also the forehead and temples.  

Those bony area’s  got influenced during development by wrong orienting vectors of bite forces, abnormal bone growth, muscle action and respiration, and this especially during the sleep.

The implant material

Patient-specific implants (PSI’s) can be made in various implant material. There are implants made in a variety of material as there is  silicone, resine, and Medpor®.

A new advent of the last (fifteen) years is a High-density porous polyethylene, PEEK, which is shown to be effective as a biomaterial. It has additional advantages like tissue adhesion with almost no capsule formation around the implant. It comes along with easiness of fixation (screw fixation), and easiness of removal if necessary.

From the artistic point of view a rather long learning school comes with the creation of aesthetic facial work ups : every part of the human facial skeleton  (cheekbone creations, gonial angles, paranasal implants, forehead enhancements,  temple augmentations), all those facial areas have all an amazing and very specific 3D geometry. 

Therefore It can be assumed that in the rather near future the so called “one size fit all” prefabricated implants will definitely trade places for 3D patient specific implants (PSI's). And let’s admit, it is nice to hear!

Many observed shortcoming outcomes of osteotomies ,of the zygoma, chin, or mandibular angle regions might be corrected through those patient-specific implants. The proposed workflow provides a complete chain of computer-aided designs,  manufacturing - and sometimes computer aids to enable the implant placement. Any way, the end product is the patient-specific implant. Those are more and more often fabricated in PEEK material.

Dr Defrancq and major implant surgery

Extensive rehabilitation work is the focus of Dr Defrancq. Over the years, I have learned to master surgery as well as implant-supported bridges (provisional and/or final fixed denture).

Nothing beats experience! This pioneering work is the fruit of more than two decades of experience and this journey has been rewarding for Dr Defrancq personally as well as for the dental lab team (Luc and Patrick Rutten - rutten@dentalteam.be). Over the last decade, Dr Defrancq has completed many hundreds of complete implant-supported bridges, in the upper jaw, the lower jaw and in both jaws simultaneously. Many of those have now been finalized in porcelain.

My passion with regard to implant work and orthognathic surgery has always been to create a nice smile in a healthy mouth. Not many clinicians are covering this whole scope of extensive implant work from A to Z: on the one hand, the surgery (all high-end), on the other hand, the prosthetic work (all high-end as well).

This has not happened overnight. It was a lifetime experience, involving a mountain of time and dedication. I am proud of having achieved this goal. Whoever comes into my office, I can tell them with a relaxed and confident spirit:

  • "Yes, I can realize a fixed implant-supported bridge for you, whatever the initial situation."
  • "Yes, your teeth will be beautiful."
  • "Yes, with a gorgeous smile!"
  • "Yes, within a nice face!"

Up until now, Dr Defrancq has always succeeded in creating a fixed bridge on every single patient he has ever treated (700-1000 patients). Believe me, you will be no exception.

So far my personal credo. 

Why choose Dr Defrancq

  • Belgium in the heart of Europe All our surgery is performed in Antwerp (Belgium). Antwerp is less than a one-hour flight away from London (there is a direct flight to Antwerp/Airport Deurne). It is also accessible by railway (Thalys). Antwerp is the heart of Flanders. It is a historic city with a massive port. It is undoubtedly a city renowned for fashion, museums, architecture, and maxillofacial surgery.
  • Language We speak English and French, and most speak a word of German. Dr Defrancq speaks fluent English, French and Dutch. All our nurses speak English, and some speak French very well.
  • Passion Dr Defrancq is, above all, enthusiastic about his work.
  • Empathy Empathy is a way of living. You simply cannot fake it.