Early Orthodontics for Kids

It’s a great idea to get checked out early


Beginning orthodontic correction early can have significant benefits for your child. An assessment as young as 7 years old can improve the chances of avoiding full orthodontic treatment later on.

At McIntosh Dental we assess breathing patterns as young as 5 years old, which can have a lasting effect on the shape of your child’s jaw. Mouth breathers can develop significant issues as their jaw and teeth grow. We often see children at 7 or 8 years old for their first orthodontic assessment and many of these children are treated early to save major orthodontic procedures in later years.

orthodontics removable appliances

Removable Appliances

We can prescribe appliances that encourage the jaw to grow in the right way. This can result in a lesser expense than full orthodontics at a later age.

A common misconception is that crooked teeth can only be treated once children have lost all their baby teeth. In fact, many crooked smiles can be prevented with this kind of early treatment.

Non-Extraction Orthodontics

Many traditional approaches to orthodontics recommend the removal of teeth to ‘gain space’ in the mouth. You’ll often hear people say ‘my teeth were too big for my mouth’ or ‘I had too many teeth as a child’. A common method was to routinely extract teeth to make space and then retract the remaining teeth into the gaps to straighten everything up.

We now know this to be an outdated approach. Non-extraction orthodontics is the new norm with extractions being required only in a tiny number of cases.

If your child has been recommended to have extractions to make their teeth straight, we advise a little caution before such a permanent and irreversible treatment plan is undertaken.

Myofunctional Treatment

Myofunctional treatment involves a number of mouth, facial muscle, and tongue exercises that are specifically designed to correct a deviated swallow – often referred to as “tongue thrust.” The condition can be found in adults and children with special needs and speech disorders, as well as in people with misaligned teeth. Myofunctional treatments are ultimately customised to the individual based on age, allowing the patient to swallow correctly as time goes on.

Myofunctional issues can manifest in many ways. Keep an eye out for any of these symptoms in your child and get in touch with us if you are at all concerned.

What to look for:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Teeth-grinding
  • Facial pain
  • Speech problems
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stomach aches

Functional Orthodontics

Functional orthodontics is the name given to the branch of orthodontics that uses appliances and braces to guide the growth of the teeth and jaws. This is a big part of our treatment philosophy at McIntosh Dental.

The treatment not only straightening a persons teeth, but repositioning the upper and lower jaws to create a more healthy profile. A weak chin or misalignment of either jaw creates an incorrect bite, either and under or overbite. This can lead to migraines, neck and shoulder pain, dizziness, sleep apnea, hearing problems, upper airway obstruction, and unsatisfactory facial profiles.

We approach straightening teeth in a different way. Instead of pulling crowded teeth the jaw is expanded to make more room. When appliances are worn to widen the jaw, both upper and lower, it makes for a more balanced profile and helps to expand sinuses and correct sleep apnea or breathing problems.

Our Results – Orthodontics for Kids

Treatment with fixed appliances

Jan 2010 – Jan 2012

Aligning teeth with fixed appliances

10 months into treatment