Early orthodontics includes treatments for young children usually between the ages of six or seven years. At his age, there are certain issues that are easy to treat. These issues will become difficult to treat if they are left until the child reaches puberty.
When the teeth and palate are still developing and the jaw is still growing, an orthodontic expander may be all that is needed to avoid dental problems in the future.
A palatal expander is a device that will widen the upper jaw in young children when their maxilla, upper jaw, is still two separate bones. It has a soft structure that runs down the middle and is easy to expand at this stage of development with minimal discomfort. When the child reaches puberty, the soft structure begins to harden into bone and can usually only be expanded with surgery.
Children who have a cross bite are the top candidates for an orthodontic expander. This means that instead of their upper teeth overlapping the lower teeth when the mouth is closed, the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth on one or both sides.
If this is not treated, it can lead to the lower jaw deviating to one side, TMJ disorders in adulthood and serious discomfort from biting the inside of the cheek. There may also be crooked upper teeth and severe dental crowding.
Dental crowding is normally seen in the front six teeth. This can be diagnosed at an early age and treated with orthodontic expanders. This means if the child does need orthodontic treatment when he or she reaches the teenage years, the treatment will take less time, and the possibility of needing to extract adult teeth will also be significantly reduced.
With palatal or orthodontic expansion, the child may feel a little pressure for a while, but the biggest issue is getting used to wearing it. The child’s speech and eating may be affected for a few days, but when they become acclimated to the device, they may even forget it’s in their mouth.
The expansion takes a few weeks, but the device may still be worn to hold the jaw in place until the bone grows into the soft junction.
We create a custom-made expander for each patient. It fits over several top teeth in the back of the mouth. The expander creates the tension in the soft tissue to cause it to gradually move apart.
It is important for children to visit the dentist from the time they get their first teeth. A good dentist will be able to see if a child requires an orthodontic expander, which will help eliminate or reduce dental problems in the future.
Contact Tenn Yuk Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment.