3 Types of Growth-Modifying Appliances

You love your child’s big, bright smile. You may have noticed that their smile is extra large because the upper teeth and jaw are more pronounced than the lower jaw. When the upper set of teeth move too far forward over the lower teeth, your child has an overbite. If untreated, your loved one could be teased at school about this facial feature. 

An overbite not only changes the facial appearance, but also can cause other issues such as impaired speech, problems chewing, damage to other teeth, and even breathing problems. It becomes a health issue as well as an unflattering facial feature. 

While braces may be recommended for your child’s teeth, braces alone can’t correct a severe overbite. The lower jaw may not be growing in proportion to the upper jaw, or the upper jaw may be too small to accommodate adult teeth, causing the jaw to move forward to try to accommodate them. Modifying the growth of the upper or lower jaw is the goal of treatment. Beginning on the youngest side of the appropriate age yields the most positive results. 

One of three dental devices that apply gentle pressure over time to the upper jaw and teeth can correct the problem. Modern dentistry uses growth modifying appliances to correct this type of malocclusion of your child’s teeth. Dr. Karen Reese, orthodontic specialist with Reese Orthodontics in New Hope and Chanhassen, Minnesota, has years of experience with growth-modifying appliances and is ready to help.

Palate expansion 

If Dr. Reese determines that your child needs a palate expander, it’s because their upper jaw is very small and won’t have room for all of their adult teeth. A palate expander slowly makes your child’s upper jaw wider so the teeth have enough room to fit into your child’s mouth. The expander is a dental appliance that has two parts which affix to the molars in the upper teeth. A screw gradually separates the two parts so that the palate widens. 

Herbst appliance 

When your child’s upper jaw is moving too far forward in comparison to the lower jaw, the upper teeth may eventually hit the lower gums if their overbite isn’t corrected. The problem is likely a difference in growth between the upper and lower jaws. Dr. Reese may recommend the Herbst dental appliance. This device consists of metal bands and rods attached to the back molars to move the lower jaw forward so that it better matches the upper jaw’s position, as well as a palate expander that enlarges the upper jaw. 

The bionator

A bionator is a removable device that aids growth of the lower jaw. It’s removable, but should be worn most of the time except when eating or playing sports. Compliance with wearing this device is high, because it’s easy for your child to use. Treatment proves most effective when the bionator is used just prior to their growth spurt in puberty — for girls, between the ages of 8-13; for boys, 10-15. 

If your child needs orthodontia to correct bite problems, call our office most convenient for you or book an appointment online today. We can help your child have a winning smile.

You Might Also Enjoy...

When Should My Child Start Orthodontic Care?

While there’s no set age to begin orthodontic treatments for children, starting early can help avoid significant issues later. Learn about the optimal time to begin orthodontic care for your child.

Do Clear Aligners Work as Well as Braces?

If you’re interested in having your teeth straightened or having a bad bite corrected, you may be wondering which orthodontic method is better: clear aligners or braces. It’s not an either/or choice in terms of effectiveness in most cases.

Myths and Facts About Headgear

You’ve learned that your child needs braces and may need headgear to correct a poor bite. Read on to dispel the myths and learn the facts about headgear and why it’s needed.

Are You a Candidate for Accelerated Orthodontics?

As an adult seeking orthodontic treatment, you’re wondering if you’ll have to wear metal braces for years before your teeth look the way you want. You may be a candidate for accelerated orthodontics. Learn more here.

How Your Bite Impacts Your Health

Are you or your child bothered by teeth that don’t fit together well? Teeth that don’t come together properly can cause jaw pain and eating and speaking problems, as well as lead to oral health issues. Read on to learn more.