The treatment to crooked teeth in the teenage years with the use of braces is the standard approach in dentistry and orthodontics.
But it’s not always necessary to until your child is a teenager. Many orthodontic conditions can be detected at a young age and will benefit from early treatment. Incorrect dental and facial development can be detected from as young as six years old, and both the American and Australian Societies of Orthodontists recommend that all children should be assessed by the age of seven.
Habits of the young child such as mouth breathing, incorrect swallowing and tongue thrusting can cause poor facial appearance and crooked teeth. These habits are often caused by obstruction in the sinus and nasal passages. A study by Dr Shapiro from the Seattle Children's Hospital showed that in comparison with children who breathed through the nose, children who breathe through the mouth had longer faces with narrower upper jaws and retruded lower jaws. Expansion of the palate at an early age not only increases oral width and volume, but also cross-sectional nasal volume, thus allowing your child to breathe more freely.
Early intervention has two stages – arch development followed by teeth and jaw alignment. Dental arch expansion in children will make room for the adult teeth before they erupt. For example, many children either have crowding that requires expansion and development of one or both jaws or they require the advancement of their underdeveloped upper or retruded lower jaw.
Once arch development is complete, a functional appliance is used to straighten to the teeth. For example, the Myobrace orthodontic appliance incorporates design characteristics which align the teeth and jaws, while correcting the underlying habits causing poor teeth and facial development. Worn by the 6 to 12 year old age group, it acts like braces by twisting and rotating teeth into the ideal position. This appliance gives your child a beautiful dental arch, which can help long term stability of orthodontic treatment.
Diagnosis and treatment planning requires your dentist to have a broad base of knowledge, a good power of observation, and insight into the complex subject of facial growth and development.
Not every child will be appropriate for early invention, but it makes sense to treat the problems early when you can. Arch expansion with jaw development and teeth alignment can result in a better looking face and help avoid braces and extractions. The later the intervention, the more likely it is conventional braces will be required.
Smilefocus provides a complete early intervention program for your children. Contact and visit us soon!
Orthodontics & Children’s Dentistry (#14-02)
Phone: 6834 0877
Dr Trevor Holcombe
BDSc (Hons) (Queensland)
MDSc (Paediatric Dentistry) (Queensland)
Dr Trevor Holcombe has more than 30 years experience in dentistry and over 20 years experience in treating children only, including orthodontics and oral surgery.