Childhood is the best time to start orthodontic treatment, as the bones of the jaw are still growing and the newly erupted teeth can still be set easily into a new alignment easily. The jaw bones reach their final state around the age of 14, which means that the general patterns are visible and easily reversible before this point.
Once the growth of the jawbones is complete, it is more complicated to resolve bite discrepancies, crowding or spacing, so it is essential to have the treatment started in an early age.
In childhood, when the bones of the jaw are still growing, their position and way of movement can be directed with removable appliances.
Contrary to common belief, night time braces are not be worn during sleep only, actually they need at least 12-14 hours a day to work efficiently.
When we apply pressure to the jawbones to move into the desired direction, the brain also needs time to adjust to the treatment, for which the usual 8 hours of sleep is not enough. Therefore wearing night time braces requires cooperation from both the parent and child as well.
There are many types of removable night time braces, depending on their function.
In most cases they are made of plastic, but thanks to the latest developments, silicone, rubber and flexible appliances are also available. Thanks to their material, these braces come in multiple colours, even patterns, so your child can easily be motivated with a unique, personalized appliance. This makes the whole process easier for you, the parent and your young ones as well.
To monitor your child’s progress, regular monthly visits to the orthodontist are required. After the first 1-2 checkups, this could be reduced to every 2-3 months.
Thanks to the limited possibilities with these braces, the treatment time is usually less than usual. Depending on the problem to be addressed and also on how your child’s bone reacts, the treatment time is between 6-12 months.
You might not think that some childhood habits can lead to dysfunctions in your child’s bite, thus risking the normal forming of the jawbones. Thumb sucking, mouth breathing or tongue thrusts can all lead to bite discrepancies, crowding or spacing.
There is a treatment option for our young ones even before the permanent teeth erupt.
Orthodontic trainers are prefabricated dental positioners, designed by a digital software. They serve to provide myofunctional therapy by helping your child to develop the right swallowing, chewing and tongue positioning habits.
Trainers can be used as a pre-orthodontic treatment from the age of 6, while the teeth are still in the changing phase.
This appliance will help future orthodontic treatment by making it less complex and decreasing the need for extractions. Trainers are to be worn at least 2-3 hours a day, which requires cooperation from the parents’ and the child’s side as well. Monthly checkups are essential here as well, to monitor the progress of the treatment.
Should your child have crowding or crossbite, the orthodontist might suggest a palatal expander. By looking at pictures, you might find this appliance intimidating, but don’t worry, it will do the magic without too much hassle!
Arch expanders are the most commonly used orthodontic appliances in child orthodontry, which can help the teeth to align back to their normal position by creating a wider arch.
The appliance is attached to the lingual side of the upper arch, thus applying pressure from the inside out.
Your child might experience some initial discomfort right after the expander is placed, but the whole treatment is relatively painless.
Patients report some pressure on the palate and speech difficulties as well, but don’t worry, these fade away after a couple of days.
One of the most visible signs that the expander is working well, is the appearance of a gap between the upper first incisors. The space appears because the appliance pushes the two sides of the palate into opposite directions. Once you stop activating the expander, the space will be closed spontaneously.
Before the treatment starts, the orthodontist will decide how much expansion is necessary. Once the desired result is achieved, they will advise on how long the retainer should be worn to stabilize the results. This may range between a few months to the equivalent length of the treatment.
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