Every child between the ages of 7 and 9 should have an assessment of their dento-facial development. This early orthodontic assessment should include an examination of the child, an interview with the parent(s) and a panoramic (OPG) study of the child’s jaws.
There is a number of potential developmental issues that must be identified and corrected in early childhood in order to avoid potential complication later in life.
Early intervention programs often tend to be cheaper, more in tune with your child’s development, less invasive and ultimately more successful than alternatives that can be offered to a grown individual.
The following are examples of some problems that we try to identify in early childhood:
- Breathing difficulties / upper air-ways issues
- Early signs of jaw growth discrepancies (for example upper jaw being too narrow for the lower jaw, or vice versa)
- Early indications of potential severe crowding
- Signs of tooth impactions (adult teeth being unable to grow properly and getting “stuck” in jaw bones)
- Cross bites, potentially traumatic bites (eg. protruding upper front teeth)
- Congenitally missing adult teeth
- Early orthodontic assessment may help your child avoid invasive and expensive treatments in future, such as tooth extractions to relieve crowding, or jaw bone surgery to compensate for growth discrepancies.
Quite often unsightly crowded teeth can be the result of some muscular habits in and around the mouth. For example mouth breathing, thumb sucking, tongue thrust and other non-functional repetitive movements can cause teeth to go out of alignment.
Whether your crowding or spacing of teeth is caused by a myofunctional habit or not can only be determined by a properly trained practitioner.
In theses cases braces or Invisalign may not be the best way to achieve good cosmetic results.
Myofuctional trainers are removable appliances. They are designed to stop non-functional habits thereby preventing detrimental influences on tooth alignment. The result is a beautifully straight smile and a healthy bite without the need for braces. Myofunctional trainers are particularly popular in early orthodontics for young children, but can be used for both adults and children.