Whole-Body Orthodontics Begin Early for Best Results
Dec 23, 2014 12:22PM
● By Sara Ghassemi
Evaluating the different types of orthodontic treatments available today can be challenging, as they are quite different from those many people used when growing up. Wholebody orthodontics, for example, differ from traditional treatments, with the goal being to prevent long-term orthodontic problems.
Treating a child’s mouth early can not only decrease the amount of work needed later on, but may also have the added benefits of allowing for more efficient breathing. Whole-body dentistry focuses on proper jaw function and the overall dental health of a patient’s teeth, better preparing them to last a lifetime. Some important components involved are:
Unfortunately, many parents don’t realize that insufficient maternal nutrition during pregnancy and inadequate nutrition during breastfeeding can cause growth problems, including dental issues such as a constricted, narrow palate. Those preparing to conceive or nurse should eat well-balanced, nutrient-dense, whole foods.
It’s important to address the causes of orthodontic problems before they become issues. In a growing child, encouraging nasal instead of mouth breathing and eliminating such oral habits as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking may decrease future problems, including the growth of a narrow palate and a backward position of the lower jaw, which encroaches on the air passage.
Allergies can lead to mouth breathing, which may affect normal facial growth. Additionally, the alignment of a child’s teeth and lips matters, as does the placement of the tongue. Without correct oral posture, the face, teeth and jaws will not grow properly.
The goal of expansion therapy is to widen the mouth’s palate to accommodate normal tongue posture. This will help to avoid extracting adult teeth as much as possible by providing enough bone in the mouth to allow for the natural growth of permanent teeth. Jaw expansion also helps widen nasal passages to allow for better airflow and encourage the forward position of the lower jaw to balance the face.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE LOWER JAW
In most cases, when a child’s upper teeth stick out, the problem is not that the upper jaw is too forward, but that the lower jaw is too far back. Many conventional orthodontic treatments work against nature by extracting permanent teeth, prescribing headgear, or performing surgery to push back the upper teeth and jaws. Holistic orthodontics focuses on natural growth guidance by using appliances that encourage the lower jaw to grow forward.
PROPERLY ALIGNED TEETH
Straight teeth are easier to clean and help gums “fit” more tightly around them, thereby reducing gum disease. If untreated, improperly aligned teeth may increase the risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, complications from diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes and respiratory disease. Crooked teeth are also more likely to develop decay and are prone to chip, break and wear easily. They may also act as stressors on the jaws and joints.
Principles that integrate a beautiful smile with a better functioning mouth and healthy body include early treatment of the face and teeth, non-extraction treatment whenever possible, expansion and arch development to create a broad smile, an open airway and increased tongue space, and surgery as a last resort. Patients should never sacrifice airway width or tongue space for straight teeth.
Dr. Sara Ghassemi specializes in holistic, or whole-body, orthodontics at Groton Wellness, located at Mill Run Plaza, 493-495 Main St., in Groton. For more information, call 978- 449-9919 or visit GrotonWellness.com.