When you bring your child in for an early orthodontic screening we can help you recognize and correct any habits your child has that could be detrimental to the alignment of their teeth and jaw. Again, the earlier the better around age 7, as any needed treatment is easier, faster and potentially less expensive if done early. Some of the habits and their effects are:
- Late Thumb Sucking: The sucking reflex is natural in early childhood; it usually disappears between ages 2 and 4. But if it persists much later, the pressure of the digit on the front teeth and the upper jaw can actually cause the teeth to move apart and the jaws to change shape. This can lead to the orthodontic problem called “open bite,” and may impair speech.
- Tongue Thrusting: An open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue pushing forward against the teeth.
- Mouth Breathing: An abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth always remains open, passing air directly to the lungs — is related to alterations in the muscular function of the tongue and face. It may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, which can lead to serious orthodontic problems. Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habitual action that’s hard to break.
If your child is experiencing any of these behaviors, we are able to offer various orthodontic solutions that will prevent future problems that can be caused by them. An early orthodontic screening is key to assuring your child has the best possible outcome for their bite health.