Every child will inherit a genetic blueprint from the parents. This is predetermined. However, the final growth outcome is affected by both genetic and environmental factors (Nature and Nuture).
As orthodontists, we can wield considerable control over the environmental influence on growth with appropriate and timely interceptive treatment.
Fact: pre-adolescent child has tremendous growth potential which we can try to harness in the management of skeletal problems in the young. Sadly, this growth potential is lost once the narrow window of growth spurt is over.
Treatment instituted for this group of patients is called “Growth Modification“. This involves an assessment of the child at age 7-8 years old to determine if there are signs of over or under-development of the jaws and bite. At this age, the signs are very subtle and may not be apparent to most.
However, when detected by the trained eyes of experienced orthodontists, treatment can be optimally timed and instituted. With the correct diagnosis, timing and cooperation from patients and parents, we can direct the growth of the jaws and control the eruption of teeth. This will greatly facilitate our attempts to modify a developing faulty jaw relationship which otherwise may only be corrected with prolonged treatment or surgery later.
Read More Interceptive Orthodontics
Signs to look out for:
- Imbalance in facial appearance such as sunken midface, short or compressed lower face, long lower jaw or short or small lower jaw or chin
- 1 or more of the upper teeth is biting on the inside of lower teeth (Cross-Bite)
- Forward or sideways functional deviation of jaw (often leads to facial asymmetry or long lower jaw)
- Abnormal Habits: Thumb sucking / Tongue thrusting (often leads to open-bite)