The Early Years | Delmarva Dental Services

The Early Years

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DOES your child show any of the following signs?  A narrow upper arch, causing crooked teeth, can be the result of:
  • Upper respiratory restrictions such as infected tonsils, adenoids, asthma and allergies.
  • Thumb, finger or blanket sucking.
  • Tongue-tied–this is where the tip of the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth.
  • Tongue thrusting (irregular swallowing pattern).
  • Extended pacifier use.
  • A narrow lower arch, caused by a narrow upper arch.
  • The lower jaw is too far back.
  • Upper jaw and teeth protrude out or retract too far back.
WHY should these problems be considered for correction, between the ages of 3 to 10 years old?
  • During this time, the bones in the head are still developing. Sometimes nature needs a little help to get the upper and lower arches in correct alignment with the skull, making this the opportune time to take corrective measures.
  • The pre-maxilla, the front part of the upper arch, stops growing between the ages of 8-10 and 80% of all facial growth is done by age 10.
  • When the maxilla, the upper arch, and the vertical dimension are correct, this allows the lower jaw to grow properly, laying the foundation necessary to achieve that full, beautiful smile.
ADVANTAGES of having a full, beautiful smile:
  • Lowers the risk of injury to protruded upper teeth
  • Improves the width of dental arches
  • Reduces social pressures caused by the appearance of the teeth
  • Improves fullness (support) of the lips
  • Influences growth of the jaws in a positive manner
  • Guides permanent teeth into better positions
  • Improves speech
  • Increases the stability of treatment results
  • Improves lip closure
  • Reduces the probability of impacted teeth
  • Reduces the need to extract permanent teeth
  • Reduces the need for jaw surgery
  • Reduces the potential of damage to the jaw joints (TMJ)
  • Takes advantage of the growth period before reaching the teenage years
  • Shortens the time a patient has to be in braces achieving better results
CORRECTIVE procedures by parents:
  • Stop the use of pacifiers: There are techniques and devices available to help the parent and child understand the damage of pacifier use.
  • Deform the tip of the pacifier (cut the tip off little by little making it unusable).
  • Stop the child from sucking a thumb or finger by applying unpleasant tasting solutions bought over-the-counter on the thumb or finger. Thumb or finger blocking gloves can be worn as a preventative measure.
For more information on Thumbguards go to www.thumbguard.com
  • Correcting respiratory or allergy problems: Breathing should be done thru the nose, not the mouth. Talk to your child’s doctor, ENT, or allergist concerning possible corrective procedures. We can supply you with a “Respiratory Packet” for more information. Part of this packet includes the book “Your Mouth, Your Life” by David Page. Visit his website at www.smilepage.com
  • Correcting a “tongue tied” condition: Most general dentists or oral surgeons can perform this simple procedure.
  • Correcting a tongue thrusting habit: After correcting the cause, then exercises can be used to eliminate the lingering habit. Just call 410-742-3000 or e-mail us at dds@delmarvadentalservices.com for a list of exercises.
  • Correcting a “mouth breathing” habit: Once the reason for the mouth breathing has been identified and corrected, put tape over closed lips for a period of time each day. This is not cruel treatment and can assist in retraining the child to breathe through the nose. A list of these exercises is also available from our office. The appliance that can be used for correcting mouth breathing is the T4K, a rubber type of removable appliance that is worn 1 hour a day and all night. It helps train the tongue to move into its proper position during swallowing and develops the arches properly by attempting to keep the lips together.
  • Widen narrow arches: The use of expansion appliances, either removable or fixed for upper and/or lower arches.