We frequently meet concerned parents who have brought their child to see us with worries about the placement of their child’s teeth, after often having been told that it is too early to intervene and that they must wait until all the permanent teeth are through before conventional orthodontic intervention.
Modern research has now shown that the need for conventional braces can be reduced and even eliminated by preventative measures that tackle the cause of crowding and crooked teeth from as early as 3 years old, when signs of poor oral confirmation first become evident.
Conventional orthodontic treatment can only begin once all permanent teeth are through (usually around 12 years of age) and rely on the use of a brace to align the teeth by forcing them into a certain position, often with the need for extraction of healthy teeth to allow the treatment to commence.
It was previously thought that genetics alone was the deciding risk factor in whether a child would need future orthodontic treatment later in life however, research has shown that other factors can cause crocked teeth, such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, reverse swallowing, and thumb sucking. These factors are known as incorrect myofunctional habits and as a result the tongue does not sit in the correct resting position in the mouth leading to poor jaw development as over time the forces of the tongue, cheeks and lips effect the positioning of the teeth and the growth of the jaw.
It is commonly thought that crowding is caused by teeth that were simply too big for the mouth or too many teeth for the jaw, however, when the underlying incorrect myofunction is addressed at an early age the jaw is able to grow to its full genetic potential, meaning that the mouth in adulthood is plenty large enough to comfortably accommodate all the teeth.
Incorrect myofunctions not only impact on the appearance of the teeth but often accompany serious health concerns if not corrected. Malocclusion (Misalignment on teeth) can lead to problems with biting and chewing, increase the likelihood of trauma to the soft tissues in the mouth from biting and lead to TMJ (jaw) issues due to incorrect biomechanics of the jaw.
As well as positioning of the teeth and growth of the jaw the medical profession now recognises Mouth Breathing as abnormal with it being the biggest contributing factor to Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) problems, which include developmental and behavioural problems, snoring, gasping, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and disrupted sleep. If OSA is left untreated it can lead to serious and significant health problems in later life.
It works by applying light forces to expand the arch and align the teeth and jaw. In addition to the appliance the patient is given a series of breathing, swallowing, tongue, cheek and lip exercises to strengthen and retrain the facial muscles in order to give the patient the best possible chance of reaching their genetic growth potential and maximising the success of the treatment.
Treatment time ranges greatly dependant on the type and severity of the myofunction, ranging from as little as 3 months up to 24 months.
The treatment usually consists of four stages;
1)Habit Correction- Teaching the patient to correct bad oral habits
2)Arch Development- Additional arch development may be required to widen the upper jaw.
3)Dental Alignment- The use of a dental appliance to align the teeth into their natural position.
4)Retention- preventing relapse with a retainer, often preventing the need for permanent retention.
The Myobrace was invented in Australia over 20 years ago
and is growing in popularity and is now used in over 100 countries worldwide.
The aim of the Myobrace is to correct the underlying causes of crooked teeth
whilst the skeleton is still developing to optimise facial development so that
there is plenty of space for the adult dentition without crowding. Treatment is
most successful in children aged 3-15 years old and is achieved by the wearing
of a series of intraoral appliances that are worn to sleep and also for a
period of 1-2 hours during the day. The aim of the appliance is to correct the
positioning of the tongue and lips and encourages nose breathing and correct