Traditional orthodontics has always been about straightening the teeth to achieve a cosmetically appealing smile. Whether it be fixed braces, clear aligners or extracting teeth to crat space, the primary focus has always been on straight teeth. At Anzac Avenue Dental, we look at why the teeth are not in the position to start with and address the underlying structural and physiological issues before we straighten the teeth. While the end result for your smile will be the same, your overall development and physical health will be vastly different.
The jaw, airway, facial development and tooth position are all inter-related and if you correct one without addressing the other, the chances of the teeth moving or relapsing to their previous position is high.
Did you know that the way you breath, the type of food you eat, whether you are bottle fed, have a dummy, suck your thumb or have allergies all affect the way your face and jaw develop, especially in the first few years of life? Your upper jaw develops around the shape of your tongue when it sits at the roof of your mouth. When the upper jaw develops properly there is usually sufficient space for the adult teeth to come down correctly.
Humans are designs to be nose breathers so the nose acts as a filter and humidifier for the air we breathe. When you breath through your nose, your tongue naturally sits at rest on the roof of your mouth. If you don't or can't breathe through your nose, you become a mouth breather and your tongue doesn't sit where it should. This in turn means the upper jaw can develop into a narrower shape than what normally occur and the lower jaw follows. A narrow jaw means there is often insufficient space for the adult teeth to come through and crowding can occur. The narrow jaw development and lack of adequate growth in the mid part of the face can also lead to other issues such as narrowing of the airway resulting in snoring and sleep apnea. Research shows a link between narrowed airways and more complex health problems including heart disease, anxiety, depression, weight gain and behavioral problems. Children and adults who have allergies causing nasal congestion and blockage, enlarged tonsils and asthma are all prone to mouth breathing.
The Dentists and Hygienists at Anzac Avenue Dental have taken a special interest in early intervention treatments that can address and correct the jaw development at an early age with the aim of reducing the need for fixed braces down the track. They have completed training both in Australia and overseas to look past the treatment offered by traditional orthodontics. Speech patterns, breathing techniques and special exercises designed for very young children can be used to assist in developing correct habits to aid development. In children under 10, removable growth guidance appliances are used to stimulate the body's own ability to grow and develop to your genetic potential. Teenagers and adults can use fixed growth guidance to correct the narrow jaw and allow space for the teeth to be straightened with braces. More and mor adults are using this treatment to correct underlying airway problems and reduce the need for sleep apnea machines and sleep appliances.
The first step in your treatment plan is a CBCT scan a 3D image of your face, jaw and airway. This allows our dentists to assess the growth pattern, airway and tooth position so they can determine the best treatment options available.
At Anzac Avenue Dental, we have CBCT on site so if you are considering early intervention orthodontics for your children or you want to discuss the options for yourself, give us a call. It's never too early or too late to start!!