Is there anything more enjoyable than seeing your child laugh and smile? As parents, we want to do whatever we can to make sure our children are happy and healthy. We also want them to enjoy a beautiful face and smile.
While most parents understand the importance of orthodontics in ensuring a beautiful smile for their child, few realize the impact that proper growth and development have on the development of their teeth and, ultimately, their airway and their health.
There are many who recognize the advantages of early orthodontic intervention while their children still have their baby teeth, which is typically referred to as Phase I or Early Orthodontics. However, there are still many clinicians and parents who believe that crowding and jaw misalignment can be addressed later with extraction or expansion after all the permanent teeth come in. While this may be true for mild jaw discrepancy and crowding, moderate to severe jaw discrepancy and crowding and the parafunctional habits and/or other growth disrupting factors associated with them should be addressed as early as possible.
More and more studies are emerging that emphasize the importance of not just traditional early orthodontic intervention (e.g., rapid expansion of the jaw and partial alignment of teeth), but slow guidance of the growth of the jaws and their surrounding structures, which allow the teeth to erupt into jaws that have reached their full genetic potential. We refer to this as Phase I or Early Orthodontics & Orthopedics and in most cases, can not only eliminate the need for extraction of healthy teeth but decrease the chance of relapse while improving overall health.
A dentist properly trained in Early Orthodontics & Orthopedics can prevent serious problems from developing and sometimes eliminate the need for braces altogether. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have an orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven.
At Aviara, our doctors couldn’t agree more.
How can orthodontics benefit a child with baby teeth?
The benefits of early orthodontic intervention are many.
There is much more to your child’s smile than appearance. Facial development and the size of the jaws greatly affect how the adult teeth erupt. For instance, if the jaw is too small, teeth crowding will occur, which leads to occlusal disease, gum and bone destruction, joint inflammation, and craniofacial and airway compromise associated diseases.
What determines the size, shape, and position of our craniofacial bones and jaw?
- Improper Feeding Mechanism: Insufficient breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and sippy cup use causes inappropriate firing of the tongue, facial and jaw muscles compressing, and narrowing or retraction of the jaw.
- Extended Frenum/Fascia: Residual fascia under the tongue, lips, and cheeks restrict the movement and function of the muscles and restrict the growth of the jaw.
- Poor Diet: A soft diet does not contribute to jaw growth. Firm and crunchy raw nuts, grains, and vegetables stimulate jaw and facial bone growth. Refined foods, dairy, and animal products cause systemic inflammation that contributes to swelling or enlargement of tonsils and adenoids, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids, Nasal and Sinus Congestion (commonly the result of poor diet, food sensitivity, and allergies): Obstructs the airway and leads to mouth breathing and associated health issues.
- Parafunction: Harmful oral habits such as mouth breathing and thumb-sucking inhibit the proper growth and development of the face and jaws. We call this parafunction – habitual functioning outside of the norm. The doctors, myofunctional therapists, and breathing and sleep hygiene educators at Aviara are experts at identifying and helping young patients eliminate these harmful habits.
The fact is many issues that are easily rectified in young children who are still growing become much more challenging and complicated to fix once the patient is fully grown. Ideally, it is best to address all issues that affect growth before the age of 10.
Our team at Aviara has advanced training in Phase I Orthodontics & Orthopedics. They can see subtle issues and problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth, even if the teeth appear straight. Based on their findings, they can recommend proper treatment, let you know if there is a potential problem that needs monitoring, or give you peace of mind that everything is developing properly.
The Benefits of Early Orthodontics & Orthopedics
With Phase I Orthodontics & Orthopedics, you can give your child the best chance to “Breathe, Live & Smile” for a lifetime!
In summary, Phase I Orthodontics & Orthopedics can:
- Guide proper jaw & facial growth
- Guide proper adult teeth to erupt in an optimal position
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Establish proper breathing, posture, and function
- Encourage optimal airway & sleep
- Address headaches and craniofacial, TMJ, and muscle aches
- Address daytime drowsiness, bedwetting, and behavioral health
Call us at (714) 790-9792 (route to 714-230-2434) today to schedule your consultation with one of our doctors or a complimentary screening with our Patient Coordinator.