Orthodontics treats dental issues in children including having crooked teeth or having issues with jaw development and tooth advancement. These tooth and jaw issues might be brought about by tooth decay, early loss of milk teeth, mishaps, or oral habits like thumb sucking. These issues additionally can be hereditary or acquired.
Untreated orthodontic problems can become worse, and more difficult to treat as a child gets older. Untreated problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, broken front teeth and loss of bone tissue that holds teeth in place. Self-confidence and self-esteem improves as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion enhancing one’s appearance. Besides the added bonus of achieving a beautiful smile, orthodontic treatment creates a healthy functional bite. Straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease and injury. It will help your child bite and chew properly which helps in good nutrition intake. It also contributes to clear speech and promotes overall oral and general physical health.
When should be the child’s first orthodontic visit?
It is always advisable to take your child to an orthodontist by the age of seven years; so any issues can be spotted early and doctors can pick the best time to begin the treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the treatment duration and subsequently expenses.
How is malocclusion treated in a growing child?
Braces treatment cannot be initiated in patients unless growth of face and jaws is completed. In growing children, functional appliances are primarily considered to be orthopedic tools to influence the facial skeleton of the growing patient in the condylar and suture areas to bring about orthodontic changes.
What are myofunctional appliances?
A functional appliance by definition is an appliance that produces all or part of its effect by altering the position of the jaws. The primary objective of functional appliances is to take advantage of natural forces and transmit them to selected areas to produce the desired change.
Benefits of myofunctional appliances:
Myofunctional appliances are removable and can be taken out on occasions making you comfortable during social considerations. These are also advantageous as these appliances are fabricated in the laboratory that results in reduced chair time. These are made of clear, plastic material making them least visible. The added benefit is that they need minimum supervision reducing frequent visits to the orthodontist.
How do myofunctional appliances work?
The actions of functional appliances are to bring orthopedic changes, dento-alveolar changes and muscular changes. Many researches over past hundred years proved that irregularities in position of the teeth are mainly due to improper functioning of soft tissue (muscles, tongue etc.). These appliances take help from the muscle action of the patient to bring about desired changes in the size, position and shape of the jaw bones in a growing child. They utilize external and internal forces like occlusal forces, muscle forces from cheeks, lips, tongue etc. They deliver natural, mild and painless forces to the growing jaws and help in stimulation or restriction of the jaws.
For example, a child has an excessive growth of upper jaw, placing it way forward than the lower jaw, serious problems like entrapped lower lip between upper and lower teeth results from this extravagant growth of upper jaw. The myofunctional appliances in such cases can be used to instigate the growth of the lower jaw and restrict or guide the growth of upper jaw. These appliances are suited to treat Class II, division 1 malocclusion where upper jaw is protruded. These patients can be best treated with such appliances in pubertal growth phase.
In cases like prolonged mouth breathing, the positioning of tongue in the mouth is away from normal and breathing is done through the mouth instead of nose, overlapping and twisting of teeth is common. These soft tissue disorders are keenly observed and patientsare treated accordingly using myofunctional appliances.
Head gear is recommended for children whose jaw bones are still growing. Headgear is an orthodontic appliance used to correct bite and support proper jaw alignment and growth. Headgear may also be used to correct overcrowding.Unlike braces and other functional appliances, headgear is worn partially outside of the mouth.Just like functional appliances, head gears are removable as well and have to be worn for 12 hours per day on an average.