All parents want their children to grow up with a balanced facial structure. If you suspect that your child’s facial or jaw development looks odd or different, seek an Orthodontist’s help as early intervention can make a big difference!
Children with any of the following problems needs help:
- Long jaw with an underbite
- Upper front teeth that stick out a lot with a short jaw
- Crooked face with a crooked bite
- Long face
- Open bite where the upper and lower front teeth cannot meet
- Narrow or small dental arches
- Upward and forward head posture
- Chronic mouth breathing due to blocked airways
Treatment may involve ‘growth braces’ that modify facial growth, called Dentofacial-Orthopedics.
Dentofacial-Orthopedics or facial growth modification aims to intercept and correct facial or jaw development deviations to achieve a harmonious facial profile and jaw relationship.
Successful outcomes require correct diagnosis and correct treatment implemented at the right age. It is a window of opportunity that is unique to each patient and needs to be defined with growth markers when the child comes to see us for assessment.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children from age 7 visit an Orthodontist for dental and facial assessment. At this age, the baby teeth are starting to change over and the permanent first molars would have erupted into the mouth. This makes it an ideal time to assess the facial and bite development of your child.
Here’s how a skeletal jaw imbalances can affect your child:
- Studies have shown that front teeth that stick out more than 6mm are 4 times more likely to fracture after a fall. Ouch!
- Speech is affected and certain words cannot be pronounced clearly when the front teeth do not meet due to jaw imbalances.
- Chewing efficiency drops when the front teeth cannot meet resulting in longer time to finish a meal.
- Erupting upper and lower adult teeth have to adapt to jaw imbalances by ‘bending’ or tipping to meet to facilitate eating. This can cause the roots of teeth to malformed or be at greater risk of gum recession/ loss.
- Opposing teeth of upper and lower jaws that don’t quite meet due to a skeletal imbalance often suffer from unnatural wear and damage as they do not meet in the correct relationship.
- It is also sad when your child’s self-esteem is affected by their facial appearance, either they notice the problems themselves or kids at school make unfriendly comments.
My kid’s face will change with time anyway, does it really need correction now?
Early treatment should be considered when it:
- Prevents problems from snowballing into more complex treatment in future
- When early treatment reduces the risk of dental and soft tissue trauma
- Corrects imbalanced and traumatic bite that wears out teeth unnaturally
- Facial or jaw imbalances that affects appearance and self-esteem
Timing treatment for Dentofacial-Orthopedics requires specialized training by an experienced Orthodontist in order to maximize treatment success. Talk to us to understand more. Our SmileTeam is here to guide you and your family through the whole process and share our experiences and cases with you.