When you want shift to happen

If you’re an adult shift is bad: when you’re a kid it can be just what you need

In our last blog (shift happens) we talked about the negative effects of not wearing a retainer, and how your teeth will generally relapse into their pre-treatment position.

It is a different story for children. In fact, with our younger patients shift is what needs to happen. With orthodontic intervention, the need for orthodontic treatment later in life can either be avoided, or minimised.


Orthosmile Orthodontics offer expansion appliances and functional appliances to help children:

1.       Expansion appliances

These are used to widen the upper jaw and correct a cross-bite. These appliances are available as either fixed or removable. Fixed expansion appliances are glued in and can only be taken out by your Orthosmile orthodontist. The fixed expander (RME appliance) may have a screw device that is turned by a family member with an expander key.

Every time the expander is turned it expands your child’s jaw by a quarter of a millimetre. This treatment is most effective for children between the age of 7 and 14.

Depending on your child’s orthodontic needs the Orthosmile Orthodontic team may suggest a quad helix appliance. This appliance does not require turning or adjusting. With the quad helix appliance it is pre-adjusted and then inserted into your child’s mouth.

Over time the appliance will expand the jaw on its own until it reaches a pre-set width. Treatment time with removable expansion appliances—generally speaking—takes longer than fixed.

2.       Functional appliances

This form of treatment is used when your child’s upper and lower jaw don’t grow in harmony. The problems with the upper and lower jaw not growing in harmony include:

  • Protruding upper teeth
  • A receding chin/jaw
  • Crossbite
  • A deep overbite
  • Large overjet

A functional appliance works by guiding or redirecting the growth of your teeth and jaws into proper alignment. There are two types of functional appliances: fixed (appliances like Herbst appliance) and removable (like Twinblock appliance or Bionator).

Functional appliances don’t usually cause much (if any) discomfort and are easy to care for.

For a full list of the many ways the team at Orthosmile Orthodontics in Brisbane can help your child click here. On the preventive treatments page (linked) you will find 9 treatment methods on offer to help your child. Some of them, like ‘Disking’ are used to create extra space to improve alignment of permanent teeth.

Disking can either be used with braces or in replacement of braces and is most effective in young children who have mild to moderate crowding of permanent incisors.

Another option is ‘Guided Eruption:’ this treatment is used to prevent mild to moderate crowding in children younger than 7. ‘Guided Eruption’ is carried out by creating more space for the teeth and allowing natural alignment to occur.

To do this a space analysis is done as soon as baby teeth start to fall out so it’s important to have x-rays taken and to visit Orthosmile to allow for the most effective treatment.

Early intervention orthodontics

Bringing your child to visit Orthosmile Orthodontics for a consultation at an early age can go a long way to avoiding lengthy, difficult treatments. We can help your child either completely avoid the need for braces or minimise the treatment necessary.

The Orthosmile Orthodontics team are able to do this using only a few simple appliances. In many cases, future problems like extractions and jaw surgery are avoided.

To find out how Orthosmile Orthodontics can help your child avoid the need for braces, or to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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