Orthodontics for children and teenagers is needed in order to avoid the development of malocclusions which affect patient's relationships and that are often the origin of periodontal diseases and temporomandibular joint disorders developed in the adult age.
Treating a child during the most active phase of the cranial-facial growth and in mixed dentition helps in restoring the correct growth of maxillary bones, getting possible a correct, aesthetical and functional dental alignment. Interceptive orthodontics (usually for children aged between 7 and 10 years old) lastes between 12 and 18 months and can be considered as a first stage of treatment that could be followed (only if necessary) by a second stage of treatment in permanent dentition. Materials and techniques developments helped the deployment of removal appliances, much more bearable for the children.
It's important to understand that early preventive treatment of the malocclusions, helps in avoiding in the future much more difficult choices like dental extractions or major orthognathic jaw surgery.
It's important to know that there are some bad habits that not corrected can lead to serious orthodontic and jaw problems as: oral breathing, thumb or finger sucking, tongue thrusting, etc.
Here are some examples of these bead habits with their consequences on the occlusion:
Mouth breathing (also termed open-mouth breathing or a mouth breathing habit) is breathing through the mouth rather than the nose. Human infants are sometimes considered obligate nasal breather, but generally speaking healthy humans may breathe through their nose, their mouth, or both. During rest, breathing through the nose is common for most individuals. Breathing through both nose and mouth during exercise is also normal, a behavioral adaptation to increase air intake and hence supply more oxygen to the muscles. Mouth breathing may be called abnormal when an individual breathes through the mouth even during rest. Some sources use the term "mouth breathing habit" but this incorrectly implies that the individual is fully capable of normal nasal breathing, and is breathing through their mouth out of preference. However, in about 85% of cases, mouth breathing represents an involuntary, subconscious adaptation to reduced patency of the nasal airway, and mouth breathing is a requirement simply in order to get enough air. Chronic mouth breathing in children may have implications on dental and facial growth. It also may cause gingivitis (inflamed gums) and halitosis (bad breath), especially upon waking if mouth breathing occurs during sleeping.
The mouth breather has the lips opened mostly of the time. This makes the facial development narrow and long.
All babies position their tongues forward and swallow with a tongue-thrusting motion, called an “infantile swallowing pattern” or primary tongue thrust, necessary to provide a seal with the lips. The transition to adult swallowing normally begins when most of the primary (baby) teeth are erupting. Once the tongue moves out of the way and the upper and lower front teeth contact, the teeth then support the lips, which seal together during swallowing.
Thumb sucking can actually block the front teeth from erupting fully and can also push the teeth forward — sometimes more on the side where the thumb rested. How far out of position the teeth end up will depend on the number of hours per day his thumb was in his mouth and how much pressure was applied. That is why it's so important to stop such habits before the permanent teeth start to come in.
If a thumb or finger exerts a force for hours per day against the anterior teeth,positional changes of the teeth can occure. Also it can contribute to the development of a narrow, high arched palate with cross-bites, crowded teeth. In order to experience a better usage of the orthodontic appliance, Dr Ana Hauta makes use mostly of removable appliances and provides for customized solutions like colored appliances.
Last but not least, Dr Ana Hauta focuses on the psychological management of the patient, being conscious of the difficulties that can rise during or after the treatment.