The Importance of Early Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child
I often hear parents report that they have been advised that they should wait for orthodontic treatment until about 13 years of age when the teeth may need extraction or surgery is needed.
An understanding of why your child is showing crowded teeth or an irregular shape of the jaws will help you to appreciate the more important issues of growth in the whole head.
Basically, because there has been a habit of open mouth breathing which probably developed at a very early age in most of our children, the tongue stays low in the mouth and this changes the whole direction of growth.
The result is in the face and in the jawbones, which instead of growing down and forward, grow down and back.
- The face grows long and narrow detracting from the natural beauty.
- The teeth become crowded.
- The lower jaw is pushed back and taking the tongue with it, starts obstructing the airway behind it- the major contributor to snoring and sleep apnoea.
- Also, because the jaw is pushed back, the jaw joint (T MJ) now sits back in the joint space causing inflammation, clicks and sore muscles. This is the major cause of headaches and migraines.
I have tried many techniques of early development and have now found the most effective treatment is stimulation of residual growth centres in the upper and lower jaws which then direct growth by the brain so that all growth is now genetically controlled and is in harmony with the natural laws that control the growth of the body.
This is in accordance with Dr Galella’s philosophy.
This is done with fixed or removable appliances in conjunction with an exercise program to correct the lip, tongue and breathing functions. It usually takes about 12 months. This is the most important part of any treatment to correct crowded teeth.
The results are:
- No need for extractions
- No surgery
- A more beautiful face
- Treating or preventing snoring and sleep apnoea
- Treating or preventing headaches and migraines
- A better posture preventing shoulder, neck and lower back pain
- Expanders of the jaws with fixed (Hyrax) or removable plastic appliances with screws.
- In all cases when these appliances were removed all the development collapsed, therefore it was a total waste of money and time. We recommend patients stay away from this kind of treatment.
- Myofunctional trainers combined with semifixed internal wire developers.
- The common result was a lack of adequate development, although initially the front teeth look neat until the rest of the permanent teeth erupt. In our experience the trainers didn’t correct the aberrant tongue function. Our experience is that only conscious and regular exercises do this.
- The use of the ALF appliances.
- This is a nice, light appliance where again adequate development was not achieved. It is also very slow and therefore expensive to deliver results with many adjustments needed.
After about 12 months when adequate development has been achieved, an internal wire retainer is placed while waiting for all the permanent teeth to erupt. It should be noted that during this first phase there is no control over the positioning or alignment of the teeth. Therefore, controlled arch braces may be needed later during development to align the teeth and close up the spaces.
The beauty of the controlled arch braces over traditional braces is that it complements the growth of the facial bones that has been achieved. This is most important. The result is a beautiful face, a generous wide smile, a healthy jaw joint preventing migraines and headaches, and a nice spacious airway preventing snoring and sleep apnoea and therefore future heart disease.
At Good Health Dentistry we aim to correct the bad habits that children can develop early, including open mouth breathing and low tongue posture which can lead to future TMJ problems, crowded teeth, snoring, sleep apnoea and headaches.
Hence, we recommend that parents start their children’s wholistic orthodontic journey sooner rather than later in the hope that these bad habits can be stopped before they develop, along with their numerous health complications.