A pediatric dentist can identify crowded or crooked teeth and actively intervene to direct the teeth during growing process. Not only will this improve the look of the child’s smile, but also early orthodontic treatment may prevent more extensive (and expensive!) treatment in the future. The advantages of orthodontic care far surpass appearance. Braces and other orthodontic appliances can straighten crooked teeth, guide teeth into proper position as they come in, correct bite problems, and even prevent the need for tooth extractions. Straight teeth not only look better, but also are easier to keep clean and therefore less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
It is important to remember that early orthodontic treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems. Two conditions that do require early intervention are crossbites, which can lead to uneven jaw development.
The crossbite – is one of the diagnoses, which can be treated through jaw expansion.
Jaw expansion – widening the circumference of the palate, the perimeter of the dental arch increases to create more space for teeth growth.
Reasons for Orthodontic treatment:
- Correct a crossbite. Te upper teeth should close around the outside of the lower teeth. In a patient with a narrow palate, it looks different, with the upper teeth biting inside the lower teeth. The result is asymmetrical growth of the lower jaw, which, if not corrected timely, can cause facial asymmetry.
- Eliminates or reduces overcrowding, by making space for all child’s upper teeth to erupt in their correct position.
- Improves breathing ability. A narrow or deep upper jaw makes it difficult for a child to breath through his or her nose. This result in continuous mouth-breathing, which often leads to unhealthy inhalation bacteria, dry mouth and potential halitosis.
Pediatric dentists recommend this treatment for the children under 16 years old. Crossbite expansion should be preferably treated as early as possible, but not younger that the age of five.
There are different treatment options for upper jaw expansion depending on the age of the patient and the reason for treatment.
- Rapid Palatal Expander: It is a fixed appliance, which is attached to the upper morals either by bonding or the use of cemented bands. This comes with a special key which is used to widen the space by turning a screw in the center of the appliance on daily basis. This place pressure on the two halves of child’s upper jaw, which, accordingly, causes extra bone to grow between them and increases the width of the jaw.
- Surgical Assistance: Surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion is a combination of orthodontic treatment and surgery. This method is used in cases when the expansion needed cannot be achieved by using only the jaw-widening appliance. The upper jaw is intentional fractured during surgery by cutting the bone in the upper jaw into movable segments. This allows the bone to grow between them when the appliance inserted after the surgery.
- Removable Expander: These appliances usually used when the level of needed expansion is minimal. Removable expander usually recommended for older kids or adults.
Upper jaw expansion produces a correct bite, easier breathing, and straighter teeth. Process itself causes just mild discomfort, which undoubtedly overweight the potential discomfort from an inaccurate bite later in life.
Please contact our specialists at Pediatrics Dentistry if you have any questions or need an advice regarding your orthodontic options.