A great smile for children or adults involves a lot more than just how teeth appear on the surface. A bright, white smile can still indicate problems in the overall structure of the mouth. Early intervention is a great way to provide the ideal structure for a child who is developing permanent teeth.
Upper and Lower Dental Arches
The term “dental arch” refers to the structure of our mouths that hold our teeth in place. The image on the left shows the detailed dental arch for an adult. Ideally, these arches are wide enough to allow for the healthy development and eruption of permanent teeth.
Recently, there have been children seen at Newberg Family Dental with narrow upper arches and normal size lower arches. This type of alignment, if allowed to continue until adulthood, will create harmful forces on the teeth that will put the teeth at risk for fracture, loosening or even be lost. Teeth need to mesh together in harmony to be healthy for a lifetime.
Ideal Teeth Alignment
On a daily basis, Newberg Oregon Dentist Dr. Jennifer McLeod sees children in her practice who are getting new permanent teeth erupting into the mouth. Some of these kids would benefit from help to develop the dental arches to allow the teeth to erupt into an ideal alignment.
With a narrow arch, there are orthodontic appliances, such as a simple dental arch expander pictured on the right, that can be used to gently widen the arch to an ideal shape and bite relationship.
Early intervention using pediatric orthodontic techniques can head off potential problems that may include braces and additional orthodontic treatment. If orthodontic treatment is started as children are younger, they tend to be less self-conscious about the process while creating arches that are ideal for teeth alignment.
Arch widening can be easily done until about age 13 for girls and a bit later for boys. After that age, it becomes very difficult to accomplish this arch widening.
Additional Benefits of Arch Widening
Arch widening can provide optimal structure for a child’s mouth as well as ideal tooth alignment as he or she grows and develops. However, there are some fringe benefits from this treatment. The arch widening will also widen the nasal passages and allow better airflow. This helps the kids to thrive and be healthy, more attentive in school and research has even shown higher IQ testing.
Dr. Jennifer McLeod and her staff at Newberg Family Dental provide excellent preventative dental care for kids of all ages. To determine if your child is a good candidate for dental arch widening, call Newberg Family Dental at 503.538.7717 or contact us through this form for your personal appointment.