Here at Williamson Pediatric Dentistry, we are proud to offer pediatric dental appliances for our patients.
Though many people think of teenagers wearing braces when they hear the phrase “dental appliances,” there are many other appliances that work well for younger children. Some appliances are used to prevent problems while others are used to treat them.
Though it can be hard to get young children to wear their appliances, it is worth it. The appliances can prevent damage to the teeth, and if worn correctly, your children may not need as much treatment in the future as they would otherwise.
There are many different types of pediatric dental appliances. Each works differently, so the choice depends on your children’s needs.
Mouthguards should be worn any time that your children engage in activities, such as sports or other dangerous activities, that may cause harm to their teeth. We can get your children customized mouthguards, though many people like to get a thermoplastic “boil-and-bite” mouthguard from a sporting goods store.
Mouthguards can also be helpful for children who grind their teeth at night. It helps to protect their teeth and can even reduce jaw pain.
Space maintainers are used when children lose their baby teeth early. This sometimes happen due to trauma or even decay. When a tooth is lost, other teeth will shift to fill in the space. Though this sounds good, it actually can cause a lot of spacing and alignment problems when the adult teeth start to come in. Because of this, spacers are used to fill in the space where the tooth is missing so that the other teeth stay in place.
There are two types of spacers: fixed and removable. Fixed spacers use a “band and loop,” “crown and loop,” or “distal shoe” type of spacer to fill the space where the tooth is missing. Fixed spacers are usually metal and can last a long time. There are times when we can place an enamel tooth into the space to improve the smile’s appearance.
Removable space maintainers are not used often. They work like orthodontic retainers, placing special plastic parts in the spot where the tooth is missing.
We also offer thumb-sucking appliances for children who don’t outgrow this bad habit. Children who continue to suck their thumbs after they are five or six can suffer complications such as impacted and misaligned teeth. An appliance called a “palatal crib” has the ability to stop thumb sucking immediately.
Because an appliance adheres to the roof of the mouth, it prevents the thumb from reaching it. The thumb touching the roof of the mouth is what children find satisfying about thumb sucking. So the appliance stops the nasty habit quickly. There are several variations of thumb-sucking appliances available depending on the child’s age.
Expansion appliances are used to fix overbites and crossbites. They stretch and widen the arch so that the teeth can be realigned correctly. They are made for each individual child and can be attached to the inside or outside of the teeth.
Expansion appliances can also be helpful for children who need cleft palate surgery.
Bionator devices are used for children whose jaws are not growing in proportion to each other. The device positions the lower jaw forward so that the teeth will line up properly. This helps prevent children from needing as much orthodontic care in the future as they would otherwise need. It also promotes natural-looking alignments.
If you have any questions about dental appliances, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (615) 614-2424.