Appliance Therapy & Braces for Children and Adolescents
The proper development of the jaws and palate is often hindered by malocclusions. These malocclusions are often caused by crossbites, deep bites, open bites, crowding, tongue tie, lip tie, high narrow palate, & genetic expression among other factors. It is necessary to identify such problems at an early age to diminish the degree of damage caused by such problems. Some of these problems are evident as early as 3 years of age when all baby teeth have erupted and the relationship of the teeth in the upper and lower jaws as well as the relationship between the jaws is determined.
Certain malocclusions are exacerbated by the presence of sleep breathing disorders (SBDs) and habits. The factors affecting SBDs include mouth breathing, snoring, grinding of teeth, chronic respiratory allergies, chronic nasal congestion, sleep apnea, obstructive inflamed tonsils, adenoids, and atypical nasal anatomy. The habits affecting malocclusions are thumbsucking, tongue thrusting, non-nutritive habits, extensive pacifier use, incompetent lip closure, poor tongue posture, hypotonic or hypertonic oral muscles, & atypical swallowing habits such as a reverse swallow. Such habits usually require assistance from a myofunctional therapist.
At Green Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we continue to add new treatments that can actually help widen the dental arches gently and naturally, encouraging them to develop to their full genetic potential. Not only does this decrease the likelihood of crowded, crooked teeth – and orthodontics to straighten them later – but it sets the foundation for a lifetime of good health through supporting the development of proper posture, healthy breath and swallow patterns, and good orofacial habits overall.
Are Braces Right for My Child?
Our dentists typically identify such problems during the dental examination and we encourage you to tell us if you have specific questions about the above. Depending on the problems present, the dentist will explain the problems she is able to address at Green Apple and the problems a medical specialist or other healthcare provider should help address in order to comprehensively treat the malocclusion problem(s). In many cases, and given the high percentage of children with crowding, braces are inevitable as part of a comprehensive plan to correct the above problems.
The appliance therapy and braces services currently available at Green Apple are:
- Early interceptive orthodontics & habit solutions (expanders, thumbsucking appliances)
- Intervention of sleep breathing disorders through fixed appliances
- Limited and comprehensive braces for patients who are candidates to be treated in our office (cases requiring advanced orthodontic care are referred to an orthodontist specialist)
Are Braces Only a Cosmetic Solution?
The desire for braces is most commonly sought due to cosmetic reasons. However, there are many health benefits of braces. When upper front teeth are proclined outwardly, there is higher risk of severe damage if a child suffers trauma to the mouth. Crooked and misplaced teeth can make cleaning very difficult, causing an enormous risk of tooth decay, and sometimes general health issues such as headaches, jaw pain, earaches, mouth breathing, and sleep apnea. Proper alignment of the teeth and jaws through orthodontics can help to solve these problems. Braces work by gently applying continuous pressure to your child’s teeth over time to straighten them and correct the bite. Metal braces are still the most reliable common option, but you may be able to wear clear or tooth-colored ceramic braces.
Unfortunately, when it comes to holistic options for braces, there are limitations and it is not easy to address most orthodontic problems with metal-free appliances. In order to determine if your child can tolerate the different metals contained within the orthodontic appliances, an allergy test should be done first. If your child has a true nickel allergy please inform the doctor.