After earning their dental degree, orthodontists spend an additional 2-3 years of specialized training in an orthodontic residency program. They specialize in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Therefore your orthodontist has exceptional knowledge in moving the teeth through the bone that surrounds them but also understands how to guide facial growth and development. This can only occur while a patient is still growing and is the primary reason why it is best to have your child screened by the age of 7.
Orthopedic appliances are used in patients with a jaw discrepancy such as an underbite, crossibite or a significant overbite in the early mixed dentition. The orthopedic appliance will redirect the jaw growth to give the patient a more harmonious skeletal profile. Not only will this give a child a more functional bite, but it will also improve their self-confidence at a very sensitive time in their social development.
There is also extensive evidence based research that supports the benefits of early treatment in the areas regarding airway, oral habit muscle therapy and the need to intercept childhood sleep apnea. The parents of patients in our practice that witness the changes in their child undergoing treatment with functional appliances often comment on the tremendous improvement in their child’s facial structure! This early intervention with patients that have skeletal imbalances reduces the need for more invasive treatments such as extractions and jaw surgery. Schedule your child’s appointment for a complimentary exam to determine if any skeletal imbalances exist.