It’s all about the tongue.
Correct posture is the key.
The tongue is the strongest orthodontic appliance in our mouth. By resting on the roof of the mouth, it insures healthy development of the dental arch and the face. If the tongue is not against the palate when sucking a pacifier, bottle or a thumb or an open mouth posture develops at rest (including snoring) unfavourable facial and dental growth patterns can develop.
All of the above can create a downwards force on the tongue that can lead to orthodontic and orthopaedic problems such as narrow palates, crowded teeth, crossbite and facial asymmetries.
Identifying issues early.
By bringing your child for a dental assessment as early as 3 years old simple changes in habits can sometimes make big differences in your child’s facial development.
Habits to watch out for include:
• Daytime breathing patterns (through the nose or through the mouth)?
• Does your child snore?
• Does your child have restless sleep at night?
• Does your child suffers allergies that lead to mucous production, congestion and mouth breathing?
• Does your child use pacifiers/bottles past 2.5 years of age
• Nip thumb sucking in the butt early!
Identifying these habits will help us to establish whether there is a potential for malocclusion and facial disharmony to develop.
Assessing for tongue ties and ensuring no upper airway obstructions present (enlarges tonsils and adenoids), as well as elimination early childhood habits are key for balanced development of the face.
If a malocclusion already exists.
It is important to fix the damage done to the growing mouth early, ensuring the tongue can go back to the palate. Treatment should be initiated as soon as symptoms appear, most commonly between age 7 and 10.
Expansion plates together with myofunctional therapy during early mixed dentition (where baby and adult teeth co exist) will help healthy breathing and a balanced dento-facial development before puberty is reached.
Benefits of removable expansion plates in early mixed dentition (Phase 1 Orthodontics):
• Broaden the smile, creating room for raised tongue posture
• Help balanced facial development
• Create additional arch space, decrease crowding & insure room for all erupting adult teeth
• Reduce need for major orthodontic treatment later in life
• Correct posterior crossbites and improve facial symmetry
• Increases total airway volume insuring good quality sleep
If you feel your son or daughter may suffer from any of the habits outlined we would be more than happy to see your little ones at our Practice, Complete Dental Care St Kilda Road. Let’s give them best start in life!
Dr Maria Smetanina