As pediatric dentists, we monitor the child’s facial, jaw, and teeth development from a young age; therefore, we can spot or predict developing malocclusion such as bite problems, crooked or crowded teeth, and intervene to guide the teeth properly as they emerge into the mouth.
Improper oral habits such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and thumb sucking have now been proven to have a severe effect on jaw growth and teeth alignment. These resultant orthodontic problems shown below should be addressed before age 9 while the child is still growing.
Pediatric dentists can best provide appropriate early orthodontic intervention, such as special oral appliances to correct the bite, removable retainers for minor tooth movements, and other habit appliances to correct or minimize these orthodontic problems while the child’s bone and jaw are still developing.
Space maintainers are appliances custom fit to your child’s mouth to hold open the empty space left by a premature lost tooth. This will prevent the remaining teeth from tilting or drifting into the empty space causing future orthodontic problems.
Oral Habit Treatments
Oral habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier use, tongue thrusting, or lip sucking are a normal part of development; however, excessive or prolonged habits can create crooked, crowded teeth or bite problems and should be addressed as soon as they are recognized.
Most children will stop these habits on their own, but some will require help from their parents or the dentist. Encouragement and positive reinforcement help most kids stop. If this approach fails, the dentist has appliances or retainers that can be placed in the mouth that effectively discourages and eliminates the habit.
Minor Tooth Movement
Removable appliances and retainers that are custom fit and designed to quickly and comfortably move specific teeth into proper alignment.
Appliances that are temporarily cemented in the mouth which expand the upper palate to correct cross bite problems.