FIRST PHASE OF
If your child is too young to go straight into braces treatment, then Dr Tadic may suggest monitoring them over a few years or in some cases she may suggest early orthodontic treatment. Early orthodontic treatment or 'first phase treatment' gives us the chance to guide jaw growth and guide adult teeth into a more favourable position.
It can involve timely extractions of baby teeth, the placement of partial braces or the placement of an appliance. All of these may assist with tooth eruption, guiding facial growth and preventing future problems from developing.
Most first phase treatments will still require a second phase of treatment once your child’s growth spurt has slowed down and the adult dentition is present. This second phase usually means braces treatment to achieve the perfect smile and bite.
Orthodontic treatment should be considered if your child displays signs of the following:
Crowding is when the teeth become overlapped. Prolonged thumb/finger sucking, mouth-breathing or genetic factors (big teeth, small jaw) are common causes of crooked teeth.
A deep bite is where the upper front teeth bite too deeply and completely overlap the lower front teeth. A large top jaw, missing lower teeth and/or a smaller lower jaw could be the reasoning behind a deep bite. A deep bite can cause trauma on the front teeth.
A posterior crossbite can occur when the lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw or the upper jaw is narrower compared to the lower jaw. This causes the upper molars to contact on the inner surface of the lower molars.
Protrusion can occur due to a combination of factors. Thumbsucking can cause the teeth to be pushed forward and thus create a protrusion. Genetics can also affect the position of the jaws/teeth and as a result the upper jaw can be enlarged and out of porportion to the rest of the face. Similarly, the lower jaw may be too small in comparison to the upper jaw and thus the teeth appear as though they are protruded.
An anterior crossbite may be caused by natural crowding, trauma to anterior baby teeth, retained baby teeth and/or a narrow upper arch. A prolonged anterior crossbite can put the specific teeth in crossbite under unnecessary trauma.
A diastema is usually caused by the presence of a low frenum. However, other possible causes are that the patient may have poor gum health, small teeth and the diastema is associated with generalised spacing or underlying genetics.
An open bite is usually caused when something is obstructing the natural alignment of the teeth at a young age. Usual culprits are thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, chewing on a pencil and prolonged use of feeding bottles and pacifiers.