Healthy and strong teeth are important for all ages, but this starts as soon as a child is born. The environmental factors, including diet, breastfeeding, sleeping patterns, breathing and habits can all influence the development of teeth, airways, gums and facial profile.
Baby, or deciduous, teeth are critical to the correct alignment and development of adult teeth. By instilling good oral hygiene habits, regularly dental visits, and diagnosis of possible complications early, we are able to treat and intervene to prevent further issues.
Brushing regularly from early age ensures that children understand the responsibility to look after their teeth, and the benefits of good diet and hydration.
The formation and eruption of baby teeth provides a child with increased chewing and eating capacity, but also improves speech function. In turn, the correct alignment of these teeth set up the adult teeth for eruption in the ideal position. When baby teeth are crowded, rotated, over-retained, removed or missing, this may lead to poor positioning of adult teeth. Often, this requires complex orthodontic correction in teenage and adult years.
Early intervention focusing on orthotropics, orthopaedics and orthodontics allow our clinicians to facilitate change in a developing child, and provide a stable framework for the future of your child’s teeth.
A range of fixed and removable appliances may be used. Commonly used appliances are fixed onto the upper or lower teeth, creating space and aligning both baby and adult teeth. The best age for this is during 7-9 years old, which means that diagnosis is best done just before this growth spurt. Predicting and using a child’s peak facial growth can meet improvements in facial profile and tooth position met with minimal resistance and maximum change.
These appliances are simple to use, and provide efficient and stable results. Often a child who uses these appliances may need further adjustment of their teeth in the future, but the change required is minimal, meaning less treatment time and less complexity in treatment.
Fixed orthodontic braces can be utilized on children as young as 7 to correct poor positioning of teeth and jaws. Through a simplified braces approach, teeth have braces placed and teeth are aligned, including baby teeth. As some baby teeth are in the mouth until age 14, alignment of these teeth allows for better form, function, and increasing predictability in eruption of adult teeth. In some cases, an incredible change in tooth position and profile can be achieved in under a year, given early diagnosis and compliance. By undertaking these procedures, we can save treatment time, decrease complexity of cases and improve facial profile and aesthetics at an early age, and allow natural growth to thrive.
Similarly, issues with breathing, airway development and sleep can greatly influence teeth position and facial profile. A combined medical and dental approach is taken to diagnose and treat patients at risk of these conditions, and intervene as required. The soft tissues of the ears, nose and throat can create resistance of blockages to the airways, resulting in adequate saturation and consumption of oxygen. This leads to greater difficulties in everyday life, but also requires great adaptation and strain on the body to compromise. If you suspect your child or family member has difficulty sleeping, snores, has frequent daytime lethargy or difficulty breathing, a dental visit could be the step to better health.