Kids Braces and Expansion Appliances
The American Association of Orthodontics suggests that the best time for your child’s first orthodontic examination is around the age of 7. We can assess if your child would benefit from early orthodontic treatment or when the ideal time would be.
Many parents are unaware that their child does not need to wait until all their adult teeth have appeared before getting orthodontic work. Many orthodontic problems are best treated between the ages of 7-11 while your child may still even have their baby teeth. Every child develops differently, and therefore, each requires specific treatment needs.
At Platinum Dental, we aim to provide every child with the most appropriate treatment at the best possible time. Early treatment with an expansion appliance can help achieve ideal facial growth, guide adult teeth into a better position, and improve the appearance of your child’s teeth, lips, and face.
This is why we believe an initial consultation at the age of 7 is so essential – Early intervention can be necessary to ensure that orthodontic problems do not persist and cause severe damage to the teeth and mouth. For most parents, their child’s health and comfort are their top priority. If we can address these issues early, then this often means that treatment is both faster and more cost-effective.
What is an expansion appliance?
An expansion appliance is an orthodontic tool to help gently improve the shape of your child’s upper and lower jaw while they are still developing. It is usually designed in the form of a removable or permanent appliance that is attached to your child’s teeth. It is a fantastic way to promote the correct development of your child’s jaw and face to allow space for adult teeth to position themselves. It can be very important in reducing the risk of having to extract healthy teeth to accommodate braces when the child is older. We promote, and fully believe that no healthy teeth should be unnecessarily removed for orthodontic treatment, due to the collapse in facial profile as well as having an impact on your child’s airways.
Indicators that your child may need an expansion appliance:?
While it is often difficult for parents to determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary, the following list may help prompt you to seek our orthodontic advice. Take a look at your child’s teeth for the following signs:
- Have crowded or misplaced teeth
- Have difficulty chewing or biting food and chew with their mouth open
- Often breathe through their mouth
- Suck their thumb
- Jaw appears to be positioned incorrectly (too far forward or back)
- Jaw makes audible sounds, often clicking, when opening and closing
- Teeth and jaw appear disproportionate to the rest of the face
- Child accidentally bites their cheek often
- Top and bottom teeth do not meet normally
- Wakes up tired, lack of concentration in school
- Sleepwalking, bed wetting, ear infections, and allergies can all be linked to the underdevelopment of the jaws!
Many of these problems are easiest to fix while the jaw is still growing. There is always a risk that these problems will continue to deteriorate if left unchecked.
What are the benefits of expansion appliances?
We may recommend expansion appliances to:
- Improve a child’s airways
- Create spaces for adult teeth to grow into
- Prevent crowding
- Correct crossbite
- Improve the appearance of the upper and lower jaw
- Improve overall facial structure
Avoid the unnecessary removal of adult teeth during later orthodontics. The financial benefits of earlier treatment cannot be overstated. Often it is cheaper to identify and correct a problem early rather than delay treatment. For some children, the benefits can also be emotional as well as physical. Not only can crowded teeth prevent proper oral hygiene but also cause psychological stress if others are teasing the child.
Why should I not wait until my child’s adult teeth come through?
Many people are incorrectly told that orthodontic work cannot be started until a kid has all their adult teeth. Patients are frequently recommended the removal of 2 or 4 adult teeth before having fixed braces applied. Extracting teeth before orthodontic treatment is often presented as a necessity, but this is not the case, it is an old school approach and is often viewed merely as the simplest way to treat overcrowded teeth. Extractions can lead to many problems with oral health and facial development. The removal of teeth can often have a dramatic effect on the appearance of a persons’ face while increasing the risk of jaw disorders such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or airway issues that can lead to the development of a sleep breathing disorder like obstructive sleep apnoea.
Expansion appliances remove the need for extractions before braces by focusing on reaching the proper development of the face, jaws, and dental arches.
Benefits of Platinum Dental clear aligners:
The obvious signs are if they breathe primarily through their mouth, suck their thumb, have crowded or misplaced teeth, or the presence of a pronounced overbite or underbite. Other less visible signs include difficulty with chewing or biting and if their baby teeth were lost at an early or late age.
Many orthodontic conditions benefit from early intervention. Early treatment with an expansion appliance can achieve ideal jaw development, guide adult teeth into a better position, and improve the appearance of your child’s teeth, smile, and facial structure. Earlier treatment can ensure orthodontic problems do not persist and cause severe damage to the teeth and gums in later life.
An underbite is where the lower teeth extend in front of the upper teeth. This can cause issues with the child’s bite and lead to wear and damage to the front teeth. An underbite can be readily treated by early orthodontics in the form of an expansion appliance.
A narrow upper jaw often causes severe tooth crowding. An expansion appliance is an effective treatment to gently widen the jaw and provide much-needed space for adult teeth to descend into. In some instances, an expansion appliance can negate the need for braces later in life as well as providing a much more pleasing profile for your child’s face. The widening of the upper jaw will also improve the ability of your child to breathe through their nose.
A crossbite can present in many forms, but its most straightforward description is when the top teeth are biting inside of the bottom teeth. This can cause an increased risk of tooth wear as well as functional problems for chewing and joint pain. A crossbite is very treatable with early orthodontics in the form of an expansion appliance which can push the upper teeth into their correct positioning.
Early orthodontic treatment is intended to correct jaw growth and make room for the adult teeth of a child (when they erupt). In some instances, an expansion appliance can negate the need for braces later in life as well as providing a much more pleasing profile for your child’s face. If future braces are required, treatment should be quicker and more affordable.
If you are worried or concerned that your child may have an orthodontic problem now, or may develop one in future, then please don’t hesitate to call our friendly reception and book an appointment with Dr. Lane today.