Functional Orthodontics

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Phase I

Most orthodontic conditions can be easier to correct if they’re treated early. Early treatment can maximize the growth of the upper and lower arches (jaw bones) in order to gain space for the permanent teeth.  Narrow arches cause teeth to come in crowded and usually require lengthy treatment with braces. By developing the dental arches at an early age we may prevent the crowding of the permanent teeth. Since 90% of the face is developed by age 12, treatment of the child’s bite problems should be corrected early to avoid more costly and lengthy treatment at an older age. One of the main advantages of early treatment is that it prevents the need for permanent teeth extractions.

Poor oral habits can also cause narrow arches and unattractive smiles.  Some of these habits are mouth-breathing, thumb-sucking, abnormal swallowing and speech problems.  These will be addressed throughout the course of your child’s treatment. Appropriate referrals will be made to ensure the success of your child’s treatment if functional appliances alone to not solve the poor oral habits. By using functional appliances while children are still actively growing, we can help them achieve a beautiful, broad smile and balanced face.

Early Treatment is designed to Prevent:

  • Bite problems
  • Underdeveloped Jaws/Narrow Arches
  • Crowded Teeth
  • Deep overbites
  • Airway problems
  • Jaw joint problems
  • Removal of adult teeth
  • Fang like tooth appearance
  • Lengthy use of braces
  • Speech difficulties
  • Crooked teeth
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Damage or Breakage to front teeth due to bad alignment
  • Establish long-term stability so that the teeth remain where they are supposed to stay
HEALTHY JAW JOINTS

Many children with narrow jaws, deep overbites or receding lower jaws have unhealthy jaw joints which can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty opening jaw
  • Neck Pain
  • Ear aches and ringing in the ears
  • Clicking or locking jaw
  • Facial pain
HELP YOUR CHILD BREATHE

Mouth-breathing can lead to orthodontic problems, as well as, other health problems: lack/over oxygenation, poor sleep habits, daytime fatigue, inability to concentrate in school, headaches (especially in the morning). Some children stop breathing at night (sleep apnea).  Research shows sleep apnea in children is linked to a condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These children often do poorly in school due to difficult to their hyperactivity. Often, medical doctors prescribe medications to children to correct a problem caused by poor sleep. Literature has shown that the solution would be to expand the dental arches with functional appliances, remove enlarged tonsils and adenoids (when obstructing the airway), and retrain the facial muscles to result in better sleep and resolution of many of the symptoms.

GIVE THE TONGUE ROOM TO FUNCTION

Narrow jaws can confine the tongue and interfere with normal speech.  If the tongue has been resting on the floor of the mouth then the top jaw does not expand naturally.  The tongue is sometimes tethered to the floor of the mouth by an altered lingual frenum. Functional appliances can expand the size of the jaws which can make more room for the tongue and enhance a child’s ability to speak normally.  The function of your child’s tongue will also be evaluated. This will ensure the tongue holds the teeth in the proper position after orthodontic treatment (think of it as nature’s permanent retainer).

Phase II

The second phase, Traditional Braces, is designed to:

  • Move permanent teeth into their final positions
  • Continue improving teeth function and facial appearance
  • Continue to increase child’s self-esteem

Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth are meant to complement each other.

By timing treatment to stages of dental development, we can maximize your child’s growth and development. Treating problems early on in a growing child may alleviate more drastic and invasive procedures later. It can also shortens the time in fixed braces. If treatment is initiated early, many times orthodontic treatment can be completed before the child goes to high school. In the best case scenario, Phase 1 treatment solves the child’s dentofacial issues.  Then the patient may not need Phase II treatment. This results in a substantial cost and time savings to the patient.