How Can Children Avoid Orthodontic Relapse?

Dentist Blog

Your child's pediatric dentist might recommend interceptive orthodontic treatment, such as space maintainers and expanders, at an early age to help prevent major malocclusions down the road. Even if a child hasn't had interceptive treatment, he or she can still benefit from braces and retainers down the road. However, before one commits to a treatment plan for their child, they should be aware of orthodontic relapse. Even when teeth are corrected, they have a tendency to return to their previous positions. One study found that after the completion of orthodontic treatment, only 30% to 50% of patients retained their new smiles. Take a look at why this happens and how to help your child prevent this issue.

What Are the Main Causes of Orthodontic Relapse?

One of the main causes of relapse is non-compliance by a patient. If your child is not wearing orthodontic rubber bands and/or eating the wrong kinds of foods with braces (e.g. popcorn, taffy, etc.), then he or she may be prone to orthodontic relapse. Once orthodontic appliances are removed, patients still need to wear retainers to maintain the corrections, so if a child wasn't compliant before, then he or she may not be compliant at the end of treatment.

Another cause of orthodontic relapse is poor oral habits, such as chewing on pens/ice cubes, thumb sucking, or even tongue thrusting. If your child has one of these habits, a pediatric dentist might prescribe orofacial mycology therapy. This type of therapy helps your child eliminate bad habits by retraining the facial muscles and swallowing patterns. For example, if your child sucks his or her thumb, that action may tilt the incisors forward. To fix the issue, a pediatric dentist might recommend a temporary crib appliance to break the habit.

How Can a Pediatric Dentist Help?

Sometimes a child is compliant, but he or she may have lost a retainer or gone too long without wearing one. In this case, it's a good idea to reach out to your pediatric dentist to have another impression taken and another retainer made. Although your child's teeth may have already slightly shifted, a new retainer can prevent full relapse. Sometimes a new impression doesn't even need to be taken, as some pediatric dentists store the old casts and can create a new appliance from them.

In some cases, a pediatric dentist might recommend a short-term retreatment, where your child will be refitted with braces or Invisalign trays. If compliance isn't an issue, then this route may be worth it. If you know that your child won't be compliant, then your dentist may just want to monitor any tooth movements until your child is a bit older. A pediatric dentist can help you weigh the pros and cons. While some children may be frustrated with re-treatment, proper alignment of teeth can reduce the risk of issues such as cavities and imbalanced bite forces.

Reach out to a pediatric dentist clinic today for more details. 


31 October 2022

Maximizing Your Smile Power

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