Did you know that nearly 75% of children will need braces or orthodontic work before they are 13 years old?
It’s quite staggering really. But this is the age where the adult teeth have all grown in, and that period of change can cause a lot of problems in healthy jaw and bite development, including malocclusions. For a lot of children, this means having metal braces fitted to their teeth, to be lived with for months or even years to treat any number of malocclusions in their teeth. But what are malocclusions, and is there a way to treat them without traditional braces?
What Is A Malocclusion?
If we’re being technical, a malocclusion is defined as: ‘A misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches when they approach each other as the jaws close.’ But if we’re speaking in plain English, it’s just the specialists’ word for crooked teeth or a misalignment of your teeth when you bite. There are a number of different forms malocclusion can take, and they are all pretty common, particularly in children.
Malocclusions can take the form of:
- Overcrowding: A very common issue caused by a lack of space for the teeth in the jaw. This causes the teeth to become crooked and overlap. It’s the single most common reason for orthodontic work in adults.
- Overjet: An overjet is where your top teeth extend past your bottom teeth horizontally (not to be confused with an overbite). The teeth protruding into your check can cause some problems with eating and speech.
- Overbite: Ideally there should be a little bit of overlap from the upper to the lower teeth, in some cases the upper row of teeth go out too far, resulting in an overbite.
- Crossbite: A crossbite is where your upper teeth come down inside your lower teeth. This can happen just on one side, at the front, back or even all over your jaw.
- Anterior crossbite (underbite): This particular type of crossbite only affects the front teeth, and displays the opposite problem to an overbite, with the lower teeth jutting out past the upper ones.
- Spacing: Spacing can occur between two or more teeth across your whole jaw. Some of the causes of spacing include missing teeth, small teeth, tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.
- Diastema: A diastema is the space between two teeth, usually at the front (think of the famous Rimmel London model).
- Impacted tooth: Impacted teeth aren’t able to come through the gums normally (known as eruption), and so get stuck. To treat this you may need to have the tooth removed, or have it exposed so that a brace can be fitted.
- Missing tooth: Missing teeth can develop as a result of trauma, or the teeth could simply not develop properly and never erupt.
The Importance Of Early Intervention
On average, 2 out of 4 children will have or develop a malocclusion at some point in their childhood. For some, it will be the result of habits, such as thumb sucking, while others will be caused by adult teeth growing in and causing problems. If left unchecked, these small problems can grow and cause real dental issues as an adult, requiring extensive and usually very expensive treatment. However, if they are treated early, from the age of around, then the treatment can help the child’s teeth grow naturally into the correct formation. This means improved facial development, less pain and difficulty doing normal things like chewing or breathing through the mouth, and a decrease in bad oral habits like snoring and tongue thrusting. It also means a lot of money and time saved on orthodontic treatments in the future.
How Does Myobrace Help?
The Myobrace system has been designed as an alternative to the traditional, bulky braces of old. Instead, it’s a preventative pre-orthodontic treatment that focuses on addressing the underlying causes of crooked teeth – such as poor oral habits or abnormal development. It’s a series of appliances which have been proven to correct the habits of poor dental development while providing light forces to realign teeth into their natural positioning. Rather than wearing braces of complicated uncomfortable dental appliances 24 hours a day, the Myobrace system only needs to be work for one or two hours a day and overnight while sleeping. Combined with a series of ‘myofunctional exercises’ also known as ‘trainer activities’, the Myobrace can completely eliminate the need for invasive orthodontal work in the future. The Myobrace is best suited for children aged 3 to 15, but can be used to treat adults if needed, and is the perfect way to naturally correct crooked teeth.
At the Appledore Dental Clinic, Dr Teresa Day is an expert in fitting and treating with the Myobrace system. When the warning signs of malocclusion are spotted at your child’s regular check-up, your Appledore dentist will refer you to Dr Teresa who can perform an evaluation to see if your child is suitable for Myobrace treatment.
With our help, your child can avoid having uncomfortable braces fitted, and instead enjoy a simple dental correction while going about life as usual. For more information, please get in touch with the clinic today and book your consultation.