Supporting good oral and overall health
Orthodontics deals with the proper alignment of the teeth and jaws to create an ideal facial structure that will support good oral and overall health. Orthodontic problems may be fixed almost at any age but early intervention can sometimes prevent the need for more extensive treatment.
Some problems of malocclusion like crossbites, open bites, crowding of the upper and lower teeth and flared front teeth can be detected and treated early. Bite problems can be caused by abnormal swallowing, early or late loss of baby teeth, airway problems like mouth breathing, dental trauma and habits like finger or thumb-sucking or pacifier use. Open bites and crossbites can create problems with airway, chewing, swallowing and speaking as the tongue finds itself in poor placement.
Proper teeth alignment does more than a pretty smile. It also helps improve breathing, chewing, speech, TMJ health and ideal facial structure support.
Common malocclusion problems
- Open Bites
- Deep Bites
- Flared Anteriors
- Missing or Extra Teeth
- Misaligned jaws
Some habits may affect the bite
Prolonged and aggressive thumb sucking or pacifier habits may cause the teeth to grow out of alignment. Problems are usually dependent upon the amount of time, frequency and intensity of the habit. With frequent and intense habits, you may observe: flared upper front teeth, pushed back lower front teeth or an open space in the front. Open bites are caused by a reshaping of the palate due to vigorous pressure and may cause the tongue to be positioned forward when swallowing, thus maintaining the bite open at the front. When the palate is higher, the upper arch gets narrower causing the posterior teeth to bite in a crossed manner. At our office, we try to discourage non-nutritive habits before the age of two to avoid more permanent damages to the developing dentition.
Sleep Disordered Breathing
Most people are not aware of the impact misaligned teeth or improper bites can have on the overall health. Constricted upper and lower jaws can impact the bite, tongue position and airflow. If the airway is obstructed, your child may snore, use the mouth to breathe or even gasp for air while asleep. When sleep is interrupted, children will not get the benefit from the health promoting qualities of sleep.
After a thorough medical and dental examination, if the root cause of these problems is of dental nature, an appliance therapy may be indicated to properly position the upper and lower jaw relative to each other and to the bones of the face. This interventional treatment promotes an open airway, proper growth of the jawbones, better tongue position, and proper nasal breathing.
Symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing:
- Mouth breathing
- Teeth grinding
- Chronic Allergies
- Daytime drowsiness
- Irritability and Aggressive Behavior
- Restless Sleep
- Dark Circles under the eyes
- Swollen Adenoids and Tonsils
- Arrested Growth & Development
- ADHD diagnosis
- Difficulties in school
Braces and Clear Aligners
Teeth may need to be aligned with braces or clear aligners to achieve a more functional and beautiful smile. Periodic adjustments are necessary to move teeth efficiently. Treatment time often varies from person to person depending on the need and how well the patient cooperates with treatment. Keeping good oral hygiene is of utmost importance as poor care may result in enamel stains or cavities around the brackets or the gumline. Periodic exams and professional cleanings will help keep your child’s teeth healthy during orthodontic treatment.
Evaluating more than just teeth
Dr. Santos-Cordero is trained to evaluate your child’s dentition and asses orthodontic needs based on eruption patterns, growth and development. As a board certified pediatric dentist with a background in orthodontics, Dr. Santos-Cordero will monitor the development of your child’s teeth and jaw bone as they grow to determine when orthodontic treatment should begin and or be referred for further evaluation by an orthodontist.