Orthodontic issues and the way forward

It’s taken me so long to write this post. This is something we’ve been dealing with since July this year and will continue to endure for many more months.

The Problem
Matthew has what is commonly known as a cross bite/under bite. This means his upper teeth sit behind his lower teeth when his mouth is closed or at rest. He doesn’t have enough space in his mouth for his permanent teeth, with his 2 canines sitting behind his incisors.

You can see his canines behind the incisors in this image

In the image on the left, his top lip should be more forward

Treatment
He will be fitted with a palate expander to make his palette bigger and a reverse face mask to bring his jaw forward. Dr says his top jaw is abnormal in that it is not growing in conjunction with his bottom jaw and his bite is skew. So as he gets older (if we don’t correct now), his jaw will continue to grow skew.So he will probably be fitted with braces when this is done. But he first needs more space for this to be done.

Rapid Palatal Expander
The rapid palatal expander can correct narrow palates, crowding, and crossbites. The appliances fit over a few back teeth in the upper jaw with a screw in the middle. To activate an RPE, you turn the screw a small amount each day with a special key to create tension between the two palatal bones.

What the expander looks like

The goal is to widen the maxilla (upper jaw), expand the dental arch, and move the teeth within the bone. Over time, the two palatal bones move apart and the jaw widens. Most orthodontists also leave the appliance in for a few months after the desired expansion is achieved to allow new bone to form. In most cases, palate expansion treatment takes 3 to 6 months.

Forward pulling extra-oral traction (facemask)
He will also be fitted with a forward pulling extra-oral traction (facemask). The Facemask is a very specialized appliance that can move the deficient or under developed upper jaw forward into a better balance with the lower jaw correcting early underbite, establishing better bite function and development, and improving child’s jaw balance and overall facial appearance for years to come. The Facemask Appliance is a one-piece unit comprised of a stainless steel framework (central core) with adjustable forehead and chin pads as well as a “cross piece” that attaches directly to an intra-oral (in the mouth) appliance to bring the upper jaw forward and downward.

His jaw issues is hereditory 😔 probably got it from me (who got it from my mom). So we need to keep an eye on Ethan as well in future.

The facemask will be on when he’s home and when he sleeps. He can’t eat with it on, he can’t go to school or out with it on. It’s detachable but must be worn to pull his jaw forward.

Orthodontist thoughts
Our doctor says he has a love/hate relationship with dentists. He loves them because they send him business. But he dislikes them because they always send the patients to him when it’s too late. Then the work that needs to be done is more invasive.

I told him our dentist said that the orthodontist won’t do anything for Matthew because he’s so young and he has all his back milk teeth still. Our orthodontist said he doesn’t know where dentists come on this notion of kids being too young to see an orthodontist.

It’s best to see them when they’re still in there pre pubescent stage. While they’re still growing. As in Matthew’s case, where his jaw needs to “regrow” it’s best to do it at this young age (even younger from 7 or 8 years old).

I even asked him if I was right to be concerned. If I did the right thing bringing him now and he said of course. If we had waited, his problem would’ve gotten worse and he would’ve needed surgery probably and other more serious, invasive, painful procedures.

Matthew’s thoughts
He said to me he doesn’t want to wear the face mask because they’re going to make fun of him. I told him I totally understand but he won’t have to wear it outside. And if I do have to go back to work and he has to go to aftercare, then he’ll have to take it with him to school and wear it at aftercare. And yes I know it’s not going to be nice to wear it in front of the other children. But does he rather want to wear it for a few weeks or does he want his problems to get worse if we leave it? He said he understands and he’ll rather wear it now 😔

Shame he’s so understanding but he’s scared also. I feel so kak for him. I honestly wish I had just trusted my gut after we saw the dentist the beginning of the year and taken him to see this orthodontist. He seems so nice also. Explained things slowly and in a way that even Matthew understood. He sat there and showed us YouTube videos of the prosthetics and how it’s used. Even showed him a video of a little boy younger than him putting the face mask on himself.

He reminds us to adjust the expander thrice every day. He’s sad that there are some foods he can’t eat and he is looking forward to the day it can all come out.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. The above is obviously not medical advice but only our experience. Please see your doctor is you suspect your child might need help.

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2 thoughts on “Orthodontic issues and the way forward

  1. Jodie Howe says:

    Oh man! We are having a similar issue and Ethan needs a plate. His bestie just got proper braces on his 4top and 4bottom permanent teeth. I’m just like…what is going on with the kids of todays’ teeth???

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