Preventive Solutions

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At Centre Orthodontics, we believe that the optimal way to treat oral problems is by preventing them from happening in the first place. When you come into our Melbourne area office, you’ll find that not only do we offer a wealth of high-quality orthodontic treatment options, but also the best in preventative orthodontics as well.

Treating Baby Teeth

Baby teeth may fall out, but they still play a vital role in maintaining the arch length and making sure that the permanent teeth have space to erupt. When baby teeth have cavities that aren’t treated, the arch length may shorten. Once the arch length starts shortening, there may be an orthodontic problem. The permanent teeth can lack the room to erupt and in turn may cause a tooth to move out of place and erupt in an unfavorable position or even be impacted within the jaw. Under-treating baby teeth may lead to these situations where an otherwise perfectly normal bite requires permanent teeth to be extracted. To make sure that baby teeth are properly treated, Dr. Tepper-Adler recommend following these basic guidelines:

  • Make sure you and your child are performing the basic procedures to look after your child’s teeth.
  • A dentist should be visited on a regular basis so cavities can be detected and dealt with before they cause too much damage.
  • If a baby tooth needs to be extracted, please consult us so we can determine the need for a space maintainer. This device is used to preserve space until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.

Pacifier (Dummy) vs. Thumb Sucking

Both thumb sucking and sucking on a dummy cause similar orthodontic complications, though the habit of thumb sucking can be a much more harmful behavior for the following reasons:

  • The habit of thumb sucking sticks around longer.
  • It’s possible to limit the amount of time that a dummy is used.
  • A dummy may be disposed of at a certain point; a thumb hopefully cannot.
  • There’s more force put on the bones when thumb sucking. When a thumb is being sucked, the thumb is usually resting on the lower jaw and pushing the upper jaw out which may cause a malocclusion (bad bite).

Still, it’s recommended to get rid of both these habits by the age of four. When a child reaches that age, the dental malocclusion can transform into a skeletal (jaw) malocclusion, which is much more complicated to fix.

Breathing Problems

If a child suffers from breathing problems through the nose, this can limit the development of the upper arch and cause a skeletal malocclusion which may be very complicated to treat. It’s possible that this may be caused by enlarged adenoids or polyps. An Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist should be consulted before that condition has a major impact. We can prescribe an expansion appliance for an underdeveloped upper jaw that will improve the breathing through the nose.

Anomalies in the Development of Teeth

When you detect dental anomalies at a young age, you can help eliminate complications that may arise from them. Such anomalies may include:

  • Missing teeth
  • Extra teeth
  • Impacted teeth

In the case of extra or impacted teeth, we can extract the offending teeth in order to minimize or even eliminate any complications.

Spacing Between Baby Teeth

It’s actually beneficial for a baby to have plenty of spacing between his or her teeth. This spacing allows room for the wider permanent teeth to erupt. When babies don’t have enough spacing, teeth crowding is very likely to happen since the permanent teeth won’t have space to erupt. In this situation, a space maintainer can be used. A space maintainer relieves crowding by preventing back teeth from moving forward. Alternatively, some baby teeth can also be extracted to allow a more favorable environment for the eruption of permanent teeth.

Asymmetry in the Lower Jaw

If the upper jaw is narrow, it may cause the lower jaw to slide sideways when the teeth close together. This can be very noticeable, as when the child talks, the lower jaw will move sideways. This is able to be treated at an early stage by expanding the upper arch to make it fit the lower arch in a symmetrical manner. Early treatment is crucial for this kind of malocclusion; it can turn this from a simple functional shift to complex skeletal asymmetry.

Skeletal Jaw Discrepancies

Some children may suffer from skeletal jaw discrepancies between the upper and lower jaw. This means that the lower jaw may be too far forward or too far back. To fix this, we recommend having a skeletal intervention at the earliest stage possible. By having this intervention, Dr. Tepper-Adler can reduce the severity of the malocclusion. This may even eliminate the possibility of jaw surgery or extractions in the future.

Contact Your Melbourne Orthodontist

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for your child to visit us at our Melbourne area office, we encourage you to fill out our online appointment request form. Alternatively, you can give us a call at (03) 9557-8911. We look forward to helping your child avoid complicated orthodontic treatment through the preventative orthodontic care we provide!