Adequate facial growth & symmetry is largely due to proper bone development. Upper & lower jaw bones that are underdeveloped will cause teeth to be crowded and often cause bite or speech problems. Additionally, both overdeveloped & underdeveloped jaws will cause profile changes & may cause facial asymmetry.
To prevent asymmetrical growth from affecting a patient’s profile, it is recommended that all children have an orthodontic consultation by age 7. This is especially critical for girls who will develop faster. Thus, the window of opportunity to positively affect facial growth is limited. At Biscayne Wellness Center in Miami, we offer a complimentary initial orthodontic consultation.
Between the ages of 7-12 dentists have the ability to positively affect facial growth with the use of functional appliances. These intraoral appliances help expand narrow, undeveloped bones. There are many different types; but, the most common are expansion appliances. These appliances are small, removable acrylic devices with a midline screw that is opened 2-5 times per week to help expand upper and lower jaws. They are placed against the palate or under the tongue against the teeth & help widen these areas allowing more room for the permanent teeth to erupt.
It is a common misconception that parents should wait until kids get all their permanent teeth before having an orthodontic consultation. By age 11-13, when most kids’ permanent teeth erupt, the options to correct underdeveloped bones are very limited. As some girls reach puberty as early as 13, it is imperative to start orthodontic treatment early when indicated.
Functional orthodontic appliances are also known as orthopedic appliances with names such as Schwarz Rapid Palatal Expander or Twin Block appliances.