Treatments for Kids
Why correct crooked teeth in young children?
If your young child doesn’t have any gaps between their baby teeth or already has crooked teeth then it is almost inevitable that they will end up with crooked teeth as an adult, as their permanent teeth will be considerably larger than their primary teeth and less able to erupt correctly. Crooked teeth can be due to oral habits or facial asymmetry and are often associated with narrow jaws. This can restrict breathing, affecting a child’s ability to sleep soundly at night, and this in turn could affect their ability to pay attention at school and to learn so they can achieve their fullest potential academically.
When is the best time for children to begin orthodontics?
Although orthodontics can take place at any age, there is an optimal period for children to begin treatment. This helps ensure the best results, often reducing the time needed for treatment later on. Ideally, your child should receive an orthodontic evaluation by age 7 but they may benefit from earlier treatment.
Why seek an evaluation by age 7?
This may seem very young, but by this stage your child’s adult molars are beginning to erupt, establishing the relationship of their back teeth. This enables an orthodontist to not only to evaluate their bite and to see if any problems with malocclusion are developing, but also to assess their whole face development, so treatment may enable the child to reach their best potential. As the incisors come through, it is possible to see if a child will develop problems such as an open bite, crossbite or issues with overcrowding.
Can treatment begin sooner than age 7?
Yes, sometimes even between the ages of 4 and 6. This might be useful if a child’s jaws are not developing correctly or if they have lost their milk or primary teeth too soon. Problems can arise if they suck their thumb or fingers, and early treatment can be very successful in correcting these issues.
What are the main benefits of an Early Orthodontic Evaluation?
An early evaluation enables Dr Mariola Prokop to plan the best time for treatment, taking advantage of your child’s growth and development to guide the teeth and jaws into better positions. This can help prevent more serious problems developing later on and may reduce or eliminate the need to extract healthy teeth at a later date, something that is all too common when orthodontic treatment is deferred until a child reaches their teens. Starting treatment early on can provide the best results, particularly because upper jaw development is largely completed in 80% of 7 year olds. Treatment at Braceless Choice is based on achieving whole facial balance, so children may benefit from teeth and jaws that function correctly and can enjoy having a pleasing profile for life, increasing their self-esteem and self-confidence.
What can early treatment help achieve?
Some of the main advantages of early treatment include:
- Creating facial symmetry through ensuring the jaws develop evenly
- Ensuring there is sufficient room for teeth that have yet to erupt
- Reducing the need for teeth extractions
- Reducing the time required for orthodontic treatment during the early teens
- Improving self-confidence (kids don’t smile if they have crooked teeth)
- Improving the airway, enabling a child to close their mouth and breathe normally through their nose
- Improving concentration at school as kids who have severe airway obstructions will often suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day or from hyperactivity.
What do I do if an appliance breaks?
If you have broken an appliance, please save any parts in case they can be reattached. It is important to have any dental appliance professionally repaired as soon as possible as otherwise it could slow down the progress of treatment. Please do not attempt to mend it yourself as you could damage the appliance.
Does Braceless Choice also offer regular dental health checkups and cleans?
Yes. At Braceless Choice, we recommend regular 3-6 month oral health checks and teeth cleaning for all our patients. A check-up and clean can be easily arranged with our Oral Health Therapist at the same time you attend for your plate review appointments, saving you the hassle of juggling yet another appointment. Our Oral Health Therapist will also assist and teach your child how to properly care for and clean their teeth.
A complimentary check-up and clean is offered when your child initially starts treatment at Braceless Choice. Please note that standard dental fees apply for any additional check-ups and cleaning. If your child is eligible for the Child Dental Benefit Scheme, these fees can be bulk-billed to Medicare. Our receptionist can check child’s eligibility with Medicare. If you have private health insurance, these fees can be claimed under the insurance item numbers #012 Oral Examiniation and #114 Teeth Cleaning.
Treatments for Adults
Why would I need treatment for snoring?
Snoring is a major symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), so all cases of snoring should be evaluated by your GP to determine whether or not you have OSA. No degree of snoring is healthy and should never be ignored.
OSA is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. This can cause you to stop breathing hundreds of times per night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute.
Left untreated, OSA can cause excessive daytime fatigue, morning headaches and memory loss, and may affect your work performance and endanger yourself and others while driving or operating machinery. In addition, studies suggest that untreated OSA increases the risk of numerous health issues, such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, obesity, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Our dentist, Dr Mariola Prokop works together with medical professionals and sleep physicians to identify the best treatment for each patient.
What is the difference between continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy and oral appliance therapy?
CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth and is connected to a tube that allows air pressure to keep the airway open during sleep.
Dentists can provide alternative, less obtrusive option to CPAP using an oral appliance therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea, snoring and grinding in adults. A custom-fit oral sleep appliance is an effective treatment that prevents the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position.
What is an oral appliance and how does it work?
An oral appliance is a custom-fit, mouth-guard-like device worn only while you sleep. It keeps your airway open and unobstructed by supporting your jaw in a forward position to keep the upper airway from collapsing and blocking the airway. It is generally more comfortable and less invasive to wear than a CPAP mask, improving the likelihood of compliance.
Oral appliances are custom-made to fit your mouth and are made of lightweight material. Follow-up visits with your dentist will be needed to ensure the optimal fit of the oral appliance so that you are comfortable and get the best benefits from your treatment.
How long will my treatment for sleep apnoea last?
If you’ve just been diagnosed with sleep apnoea, and have been prescribed an oral appliance, you may be wondering how long you’ll need to wear your appliance for. Unfortunately, oral appliances and CPAP treatments do not cure sleep apnoea, but they will help you greatly improve the quality of your sleep and the rest of your life. As you long as you have sleep apnoea, you will continue to need treatment.
If your sleep apnoea is due to excess weight or lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking, or not getting enough sleep, then there is a lot you can do to improve or even reverse your sleep apnea. Exercising, eating healthier, and cutting out nicotine and alcohol will help you shed excess weight and improve your health.
However, if your sleep apnea is caused by aging or structural abnormalities then you may have to use an oral appliance for the rest of your life since these conditions tend to be permanent.
It’s also worth remembering that an Oral Appliance MAS works only when is worn!
If you are finding it difficult to maintain compliance, reflect on how sluggish and tired you were prior to treatment, and remember all the health risks that this comparatively non-invasive treatment is helping to reduce, including obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, type-2 diabetes, depression, impotence, mood disorders and motor vehicle and industrial accidents.