Dental and Facial Correction for a Growing Child
The teeth are a connected structure of the face, the head and the body. The position of the teeth, good or bad, is determined by the muscles of the lip and tongue. Dentists and orthodontists are becoming increasingly aware that if a child’s teeth are not straight, facial growth and development are also not correct.
- Myofunctional Orthodontics attempts to identify the causes of crooked teeth / misaligned jaws
- Myofunctional Orthodontics treats the causes in the growing child.
- Myofunctional Orthodontics has benefits for the teeth, facial appearance, the posture and general health.
- Myofunctional Orthodontics does not usually require the use of full fixed “braces” if done early enough
Myofunctional Treatment Vs. Traditional Treatment
If your myofunction is not corrected you will probably need fixed retainers (wires) put on your teeth for life to stop relapse happening. If you opt to have traditional fixed braces (brackets and wires) you will probably need fixed retainers for life. This is because fixed braces usually put the teeth in a zone of imbalance and when the braces come off, the teeth may be pushed by the lips and tongue and other forces.
If you can have the teeth and jaws moved without braces, using your own, proper myofunction, then you usually won’t need life-time retainers. Sometimes the teeth may not be absolutely straight, but they are straighter, the jaws are aligned, and they are in a zone of balance so relapse is less less likely.
We believe that healthy, aligned jaws, with straighter teeth, correct myofunction, and proper nasal breathing is more important than absolutely straight teeth with fixed retainers, with no correction of the above.
Role of the Tongue, Lips, & Breathing…
Correction of mouth breathing helps put the tongue in the right position to help it direct the growth of your jaws. The tongue is a muscle (Latin is “myo”) and it needs to function correctly for you to be healthy and have straight teeth and jaws. This is called “myofunctional orthodontics” or “myofunctional orthopedics”, sometimes spelled, “myofunctional orthopaedics.”
Other muscles involved in myofunctional orthodontics are the lips, as these can push on the teeth and jaws just like the tongue…. The lips and the tongue can put around 300g and 500g of force onto the teeth and jaws! It only takes around a few grams of force to move a tooth! So your teeth rest in a place where all the forces are equal. If the muscle function (myofunction) is not correct, the positions of the teeth and jaws are likely to be not correct… Simple!
A Quick Myofunctional Diagnosis
Without examining the real patient it’s hard to be sure, but here’s what we think from the pictures below…
In these images, the 10 year old probably has a hyperactive lower lip (reverse swallow) – it looks like the fold under his lip is prominent. This may have caused his lower jaw and maybe his teeth to be pushed back every time he swallows.
We can’t tell from the picture if the 10 year old was a mouth breather – but he is at age 17. His mouth is open indicating that this is the case. The 17 year old’s lower jaw is too far back, and his upper jaw is probably narrow as a result of the mouth breathing – the tongue was not in the roof of his mouth while he mouth breathed so the tongue did not push on his palate to make it wide enough.
Prevention is better than treatment!
It is not our opinion that counts though! The choice is yours... Contact one of our trainer system practitioners to discuss your options. Prevent the orthodontic problem from getting worse by treating it early.
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