Preventive care and appliances
What are the treatment and appliances used?
Here is a list of common preventative treatments that Dr Daxter Yeo has performed:
- Space Maintainers
Early loss of teeth sometimes requires a space maintainer. If a tooth is lost before the permanent tooth has a chance to take its place, the space will close when other teeth drift into the space. Once the permanent tooth erupts, its path will be out of alignment as well. A space maintainer is an orthodontic appliance that holds the space open so that the permanent tooth can erupt favourably. It is a simple device that can save your child many months of future orthodontic treatment.
- Guided Eruption
Mild to moderate crowding may be alleviated or reduced without using braces if treatment begins while the permanent front teeth are erupting (before 7 years of age). This can be done by creating more space for the teeth and allowing natural alignment to occur. A space analysis can be done as soon as baby teeth start to fall out so it is important to have appropriate x-rays taken and to visit Dr. Yeo to allow for the most efficient treatment possible.
- Early Extraction
Sometimes baby teeth do not fall out when they are supposed to. In fact, there are some cases when the baby tooth does not fall out naturally at all. This can happen when the permanent tooth is congenitally missing or grows in the wrong location and does not push out the baby tooth. In these cases it may be necessary to extract the baby tooth to allow for proper alignment of the permanent teeth.
- Arch Expansion Appliances
When a healthy mouth bites down, the top teeth will fit outside of the bottom teeth. This is nature’s way of helping you chew your food without chewing your cheeks and lips. Cross-bite is when the top teeth in the back fit on the inside of the lower teeth. This usually occurs when the upper jaw is constricted. To treat this, a maxillary expansion appliance can be used to help expand the upper arch. If corrected early enough with an appliance, a jaw disharmony can be prevented. This can also correct aesthetic disharmony in your frontal profile.
- Thumb Sucking
While thumb sucking is normal for infants and toddlers, this behaviour should decrease by ages 3-4 and stop by age five. Unfortunately, many youngsters are slow to break the habit. Prolonged thumb or finger sucking easily deforms the bone surrounding upper and lower front teeth, commonly producing a hole or gap when teeth are brought together, known as an “open bite”. Other adverse effects include flared or protruded upper teeth, and delayed eruption of upper or lower front teeth. This can result in chewing difficulties, speech abnormalities, and an unattractive smile. Stopping the habit in time is thus important in preventing potentially serious malocclusion. Dr Yeo can fabricate an appliance to help break the thumb/finger sucking habit. This makes it nearly impossible for your child to suck his/her thumb or fingers. If the problem is addressed early enough, braces may not even be necessary.
- Early Straightening of Permanent Incisors
Permanent front teeth may be straightened with braces at the ages of 8-10. These braces are often only bonded to the front teeth. Sometimes this is necessary to correct a functional problem and/or to prevent a more serious problem at a later time. At other times, parents may desire that braces be placed early to improve a child’s appearance. Remember, children want to look as normal as possible and sometimes gross discrepancies in tooth alignment can lead to insecurities that can otherwise be corrected. However, Dr. Yeo will need to evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis as braces are not appropriate for all young children.
- Functional Jaw Orthopaedics
When the upper and lower jaws do not grow in harmony many problems may arise. These include protruding upper teeth, a receding chin/jaw, crossbite, a deep overbite, and a large overjet to name a few. Functional appliances can help align the jaws properly. These appliances can either be removable (eg. Twin Block appliance) or fixed (eg. Herbst appliance). They encourage the jaws to grow in harmony. They usually do not cause much discomfort, is easy to care for, and is just what your smile needs to look its best.
- Dental Headgear
Headgear is attached to braces to pull the jaw back, up or forward and it provides important extra forces for the correction of the bite. It can also be used to create additional space for permanent teeth alignment. The headgear is usually only worn at home and to sleep.
Disking is a procedure that creates extra space to improve alignment of permanent teeth. This can be in conjunction with braces or instead of braces. It works best in children with mild to moderate crowding of permanent incisors. The amount of tooth removed in between teeth is imperceptible and does not affect further tooth function.