WHY DO THINGS LOOK THE WAY THEY DO?
- Form follows function
- The way we chew, swallow, breathe means we use our muscles in a certain way and if we do this incorrectly it has a negative effect on our teeth and jaws, a good way to think about it is that the teeth and jaws are like a lump of clay and the tongue and mouth muscles are the sculptors.
PRE-ORTHODONTICS – WHAT IS IT?
- The aim of pre-orthodontics is to unlock the genetic potential of your child to get their growth going in the right direction
- It includes myofunctional orthodontics (muscle function) and myofunctional orthopedics (moving bone)
- Orthodontics alone focuses on the movement of teeth
WHO IS PRE-ORTHODONTICS SUITABLE FOR?
- As we are taking advantage of your child’s growth, the younger your child is, the more change we can make. We have treated children as young as 2 years old.
- Ideally we would like to see kids before they are 10 years old.
- Signs that this may be suitable for your child include – snoring, mouth breathing, has trouble eating textured foods, has very crowded teeth, has narrow jaws.
WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACHIEVE AND WHAT IS HEALTHY?
- Nose breathing
- Tongue to the roof of the mouth
- Lips together
- Swallowing and eating correctly
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
We use exercises to retrain the mouth muscles, so we can achieve correct function
The younger a patient is the more neuroplasticity they have which means they are more open to change and creating new neuromuscular patterns
We will use a range of appliances including the Myomunchee, Myobrace and Expansion devices, these work by creating a better arch shape as well as improving function
These will change as your child progresses through the program
- Multi-disciplinary approach
We work closely with other allied health professionals including chiropractors, osteopaths, speech pathologists to get your child the care they need.
- TAKE OFF
We start with an 8-week program focusing on exercises to correct any habits; the exercises are to be done twice a day for 10 minutes each time.
There will be 4 fortnightly appointments. At each appointment we will give new exercises with increasing difficulty.
We will introduce the Myomunchee at this time, this is used for 10 minutes once a day.
- A digital scan
- Photos and videos
- The first set of exercises
Appointment 2 to 4 (Fortnightly)
- A new digital scan and photos may be taken for comparison
- The next level of exercises will be given
- Any accessory appliances may also be given
Once your child is competent with all of the exercises and is showing improved muscle function, we will progress to the Myobrace appliance.
The Myobrace appliance is much more effective when the exercises have been completed first.
The aim of the Myobrace appliance is for it to be worn 1 to 2 hours during the day and throughout the night.
Once this is introduced, we will review your child 1-3 monthly.
If everything has been corrected at this stage your child will just wear the Myobrace at nighttime only for retention.
We will then check on things at their 6 monthly check up.
- The first Myobrace will be introduced
- Exercises may also still be given
- We will review monthly until the appliance is staying in all night
- If required a expander appliance may also be given
- This program relies on the compliance of you and your child, a great way to look at it is like swimming lessons.
- It requires consistent and frequent exercises to break old habits and see change and improvement.
- As exercises are done at home the more involved the family is the better and faster the results we see.
- Awareness is key, our aim is to get your child to be aware of the correct positions of their muscles so it become their normal posture without them having to think about it. We ask that family members keep an eye on their child and help with subtle reminders for example if you notice your child’s lips are apart and he or she is mouth breathing a little tap on your lips to remind them is a great way to give some non-verbal cues.
- Please discuss this as a family and make sure this is a program that you will be able to follow before we get started.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Why don’t we just go straight to braces?
Braces help straighten teeth but they have little effect on muscle function and overall jaw growth.
Our aim with pre-orthodontics is to take advantage of growth and the great ability of kids to learn new habits so that we can get the optimal jaw shape and hence teeth positioning. With pre-orthodontics we are able to move bone and not just teeth. When we do go straight to braces in a child that has poor habits we find that relapse is at its highest. Also if a child has the incorrect growth pattern and we wait until their adult teeth come through for braces they most likely need much more complicated treatment which can include surgery.
In terms of cost we have tried to make this as cost effective for families as possible, if both pre-orthodontics and Invisalign are required this would be the same cost as if they went straight to Invisalign when they are older. We have decided to create the program and pricing this way to encourage pre-orthodontics as we get better results in the long run.
Why did my child’s growth go off track?
The tongue is a very strong muscle when it is sitting in the palate provides outwardly pressures that encourages jaw growth. If the tongue is sitting too low the upper jaw tends to be underdeveloped.
Children who breathe through their mouth instead of their nose usually have a low tongue position as their resting posture. This inhibits the normal growth direction of the jaws. Jaws tend to grow in a more vertical direction. Often these kids are not able to keep their lips together at rest. They also have difficulty getting a good nights sleep. Mouth breathing also creates a very dry mouth which makes them more prone to tooth decay.
What are the benefits of treating them early?
Mouth breathing usually results in poor sleep, sleep is very important for your child’s proper growth and development. We sometimes find that children with learning difficulties stem from these issues. Mouth breathing and incorrect tongue posture in a child can progress to sleep apneoa or sleep disordered breathing as an adult.
Please feel free to contact us to book a FREE CONSULTATION regarding our Pre-Orthodontic program. It is a passion of ours to help kids be as healthy and happy as possible.