Growth and Development Issues
The majority of orthodontic patients begin treatment around the age of 11 or 12. However, orthodontic treatment may be recommended at a younger age if there are growth and development issues present. Some problems will be quite noticeable, while others may be nearly undetectable. That is why it is important to bring your child in for an orthodontic screening at seven years of age. When detected early, these issues can be treated efficiently and effectively. At Roy Orthodontics, we offer a variety of treatments that can address these problems early on and prevent serious issues from developing in the future. Here, we will explore a few common growth and development issues, and how to treat them.
Chronic Mouth Breathing
Does your child breathe with his or her mouth open? This may be a common occurrence during a sinus infection or illness. However, chronic mouth breathing can signify a developmental issue. If the teeth, jaw joints, and other facial structures do not align properly, it can prevent your child from completely closing the mouth. This can result in chronic inflammation of the oral soft tissues. If left untreated, mouth breathing can cause a wide array of issues, including tooth crowding, abnormal facial growth, compromised airways, and many others.
Mouth breathing also results in compromised sleep quality. Because of this, many researchers believe it can hinder academic performance and negatively affect behavioral health.
When your child has a cold, he or she may not be able to breathe properly. However, if breathing difficulties are chronic, it could indicate an obstruction of the airway. This could be the result of improper placement of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both, causing the soft tissues of the throat to collapse over the airway, restricting oxygen flow to the brain.
It may not seem as though asthma can affect dental health. However, children who suffer from this respiratory condition are at a higher risk for developing abnormalities in the oral and maxillofacial structures. During the formative years, the bones of the face are still soft and malleable. Therefore, if problems arise, they are easier to correct while the child is still young. Waiting until they are older may lead to more complex issues later on.
A Narrowed or Restricted Palate
If your child’s palate is narrow or constricted, it can lead to severe malocclusion, such as a cross bite. This condition is much easier to address while the patient is young, and still in the developmental years. Gently expanding the palate will encourage proper jaw growth, optimal sinus placement, and facial harmony.
An Underdeveloped Lower Jaw
Oftentimes, the appearance of a small chin or an overbite is actually caused by an underdeveloped jaw. If the lower jaw is retruded, it can increase the risk of TMJ disorder as your child grows older. Addressing this problem early will encourage proper jaw growth for optimal oral health.
Treating Growth and Development Issues
While all of these growth and development issues can lead to more severe problems in the future, they are also much easier to correct while your child is still young. By undergoing early orthodontics, your child can avoid more invasive and costly procedures when they are older. Children’s orthodontics is the most conservative path to a lifetime of oral health.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Roy
The best way to know if your child will require early orthodontic treatment is to schedule a visit at our Virginia Beach or Chesapeake office location. Dr. Carl Roy can assess your child’s oral health and let you know an appropriate age to begin treatment. To learn more about orthodontic treatment, contact us online anytime, or give us a call.