Preventive Orthodontic Treatments For Children
We may think that only genes determinesa child’s teeth and facial appearance. However, the environment too plays a significant role. Since a child’s facial bones are growing, it is elastic in nature and thus, these bones get moulded and formed according to the way a child eats, sleeps, speaks and breathes.
Facial structure is also determined by the alignment of the teeth. For instance, those who breathe with their mouth, have long faces, thumb suckers tend to have upper teeth which protrude and tongue thrusters, are likely to have a space between their front teeth and an open bite.
Early Intervention To Prevent Growth Deformities
It is important for children over four years to go for dental check-ups It their oral health habits are suspected to affect their facial growth. Any oral habit that is continued after the age of four, needs attention. Also, disturbances due to teeth alignment may be prevented while they develop and can be addressed when the permanent teeth start to erupt.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children, post the age of seven should visit an orthodontist and parents should consult with the doctor, as soon as the milk teeth start falling. This enables the specialist to assess the child’s growth pattern and prevent growth deformities, before the eruption of permanent teeth and the jaw stops growing.
Some Preventive Orthodontic Treatments For Children
- Milk teeth extraction can be carried out when there is excessive crowding of teeth, so as to make space for the permanent teeth to erupt.
- Easy to wear and removable appliances are used to stimulate the growth of a small lower jaw, which cannot be corrected with braces at a later stage, as it would require surgery.
- Expansion appliances are used to widen the narrow lower or upper jaws, while the child is in an active growing phase.
- Special appliances and straps are used to control the excess growth of lower or upper jaw which occurs due to protruding of lower or upper teeth.
- Scissor-like cross bite correction.
- Enlargement of transverse width of arches is facilitated, to prevent overlapping of teeth and relief.
- Deep bite correction with lower lip being trapped between the teeth.
- Appliances to break habits like mouth breathing, lip biting, thumb sucking or tongue thrusting are used to prevent deformation in the facial structure.
These corrections if performed at an early age, prevent the need of braces at a later stage. The habit breakers are of immense help, as they permanently change the facial appearances for good, without the need for surgery.
Advantages Of Early Treatment
- The front teeth are moved inwards making them less susceptible to injury
- The relationship between the lower and upper jaws is corrected and they grow better in the future
- The stress on the joints caused due to malocclusion is decreased
- Enhanced self-esteem and facial appearance
- The child may not need more treatments as an adult
All children post the age of seven should visit an orthodontist and parents should consult with the doctor as soon as the milk teeth start falling