Family Orthodontics

Early Treatment to Adult Braces


Although patients of any age can benefit from orthodontic braces, they tend to work much quicker on pre-teens and teenagers since they are still experiencing jaw growth.  The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should first see an orthodontist around the age of seven years-old.  An orthodontic examination may be beneficial before age seven if facial or oral irregularities are noted.

 

Benefits of early treatment:

  • Improves profiles, smiles and self-esteem
  • Corrects harmful habits, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
  • Functional appliances develop the arches and make more room for the tongue
  • Improves speech
  • Reduces the amount of time spent in fixed braces and frequently eliminates the need for the extraction of permanent teeth
  • Increases nasal breathing which improves health
  • Eliminates airway constriction
  • Creates beautiful broad smiles by developing the arches
  • Eliminates grinding of the teeth at night
  • Prevents headaches and earaches

 

Early interceptive orthodontic treatment usually starts before the eruption of the permanent teeth or when the child has very few permanent teeth present. Our goal at KB Dental office is to guide the growth of the upper and/or lower jaw to make adequate space for the eruption of all the permanent teeth. We feel that children should be evaluated by the age of four to see if there is a bone problem (orthopedic) or a tooth problem (orthodontic). 

If the patient has a problem such as the upper jaw being too narrow, or an underdeveloped lower jaw, this will require a special appliance called a functional jaw orthopedic appliance to correct the problem. Minor tooth crowding can also be corrected early if it appears as though it may compromise the eruption of other permanent teeth. 
 
It is always less expensive to correct a problem when the patient is younger rather than wait for the problem to become more serious in the future.
 
 

EARLY WARNING SIGNS:


Deep Bite
Do the upper teeth completely hide the lower teeth when you bite down, or does your child bite on the roof of their mouth?

Open Bite
Do the upper and lower teeth not meet in the front when your child bites together?

Overjet
Do the upper front teeth seem to be more noticeable and stick out quite a bit, compared to the lower front teeth?

Facial Asymmetry
When looking at your child from the front does it appear that their face, or chin are shifted to one side? Are they growing crooked?

Crossbite
When you look into your child's mouth are the upper teeth on the inside of the lower teeth? If you think of the upper jaw as the garage and the lower jaw as the car the garage should be bigger than the car!

Habits
Does your child suck their finger or their thumb? Do they breathe through their mouth instead of their nose? Do they stick their tongue between their teeth when they swallow?

Crowding
Are the permanent teeth starting to come in crowded?

Headaches
Does your child complain frequently of headaches? If your child grinds their teeth, or has a deep bite, the muscles may be over worked and can contribute to headaches in children.

Earaches
Sometimes a bad bite or a deep bite can cause undue pressure on the small membranes of the ear, contributing to earaches.

These are all sign that your child may need early intervention!

Functional Appliances work with your child's growth and development to guide the jaws to their proper size.

Contact us for an assessment of your child, if you have noticed any of the above symptoms.

 

FUNCTIONAL HABITS:

Functional habits include thumb sucking, mouth breathing or a tongue thrust habit which can contribute to the unfavorable growth of the jaws. Oral habits can commonly cause the upper front teeth to stick out and can contribute to speech problems. The best way to intercept a habit is to first make certain that the child has a proper size airway and can breath through the nose. In cases where there are serious allergies, swollen adenoids or tonsils, a referral to an Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist must be done.

 



Effects of Finger Habit              Habit Corrected

After airway considerations are addressed, an upper fixed habit- breaking appliance could be made to stop the oral habit. Most parents prefer the fixed appliances that cannot be removed by the child. A tiny, patient friendly crib at the front of the appliance helps to remind the patient not to place their tongue, finger of thumb in this area of the mouth. Active treatment usually takes 4 to 5 months. Then if an arch development appliance was used, the crib could be removed, and the child wears the appliance as a retainer for another 6 months to prevent a relapse.


Beautiful Smiles, Straight Teeth, Healthy Jaw Joints

Parents want their children to be treated as soon as problems arise. They do not want treatment to be delayed until all the permanent teeth erupt and costs could escalate. Early treatment minimizes the time that children need to wear braces and is the treatment of choice. The ideal time for treatment is any time after age 4 when problems such as narrow jaws, a thumb sucking habit, mouth breathing or malformed jaws are recognized. Since ninety percent of the face is developed by age 12, we must treat early in order to guide the growth of our younger patients. If treatment is delayed until all the permanent teeth erupt, this increases the incidence of extractions. It has been KB Dental's experience that almost all children can be treated with non extraction and no headgear.

Patient comfort and education are the priorities of KB Dental and they treat many patients with head, neck and facial pain. For the apprehensive patient, a thorough understanding of the proposed treatment plan can eliminate any pretreatment nervousness.

KB Dental treats many patients with orthodontic and TMJ (Jaw joint) problems. Many patients are delighted when they find a solution to their children's headache, ear ache, neck ache, dizziness, ADHD, hyperactivity, allergy and sleep issue's. Many of the above problems can be related to jaw problems. In many cases, the lower jaw is not in the correct position in relation to the upper jaw which causes muscle spasms with resultant painful symptoms.

For her younger orthodontic patients, KB Dental prefers Two Phase Treatment. First, all functional problems including mouth breathing, snoring, jaw joint problems, and habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusts, are treated immediately. Any skeletal (bone) problems such as narrow jaws or underdeveloped jaws are also treated with functional appliances. Recessive or underdeveloped chins are consistently moved forward with functional appliances while the patient is still growing. This is more preferable than waiting until the permanent teeth erupt and surgically moving the lower jaw forward. Once the arches are developed in Phase One and all the permanent teeth erupt, braces may be utilized to straighten the teeth in Phase Two. The combination of these two phases of treatment ensures beautiful faces, full lips, outstanding profiles and healthy happy lives.

KB Dental philosophy is to treat patients early with arch development appliances so you can solve many of the problems before the permanent teeth erupt. This approach ensures that the majority of her patients can be treated without the extraction of permanent teeth and non- surgically. Their objective is to help patients achieve straight profiles, healthy jaw joints and beautiful, broad smiles for their children.

Children and Adult Orthodontic Choices