Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Daughter's Orthodontics - One Year Update

Last year I wrote a series of posts about my daughter's orthodontics and why we are not using conventional braces for her teethIt has now been one year since she started using her orthodontic appliance, so I wanted to share our results thus far. My daughter Alina is currently 8 years old and is in the age of "mixed dentition," meaning she has some adult teeth as well as some baby teeth.

 

How Does the Appliance Work?


Alina is using a one-piece plastic myofunctional appliance made by Ortho-Tain. This appliance is
encouraging Alina's palate and jaw to grow so that there will be plenty of space for her adult teeth.

Alina wears her Ortho-Tain orthodontic appliance every night while she sleeps. Because we started early, she does not need to wear the appliance during the daytime at all (whereas if we had waited a few more years before starting, she would have needed to wear it at night as well as for a few hours in the daytime).

Alina has been very cooperative with this whole process and has done a fantastic job of wearing her appliance.  Her (wonderful) orthodontist is very pleased with her progress and gives her all the credit for being the one to do the work of wearing the appliance and following his instructions.

Our Results From One Year of Treatment

Over the last year, Alina has progressed through two sizes of orthodontic appliance. This means that her palate and jaw have grown enough to need to increase the size of her appliance!

By the time she had been using her appliance for six months, her minor cross-bite was corrected so that her top and bottom teeth now line up correctly. 

And now for the pictures!

Pre-treatment (April 2014) - Alina's baby teeth have no space between them (minus the one spot where she is missing a tooth)


After one year of treatment (May 2015) - Alina has currently lost 8 baby teeth. She has plenty of space for her new top adult teeth.




(May 2015) Alina's teeth no longer have a cross-bite.

(May 2015) There is still some minor crowding with her bottom teeth, but considering that there are 4 adult teeth where there were previously smaller baby teeth with no space whatsoever, you can tell that her bottom jaw has also expanded.  

 

Have you tried any alternatives to conventional orthodontics? What were your results?

17 comments :

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. I just came back from my 5 year old's cleaning and here are the bad news: his adult teeth (center teeth, both top and bottom) are twice the size of his current baby teeth. And his teeth are already crowded. The dentist said his number 2's are twisted as they are trying to find their space in the jaw... he's definitely a candidate for orthodontics and I'm very interested in palate expanders. So this is something I would discuss with an orthodontist when the time comes? At what age? I do want to start early...

Sarah Smith said...

One of the beauties of the alternative orthodontic methods (rather than braces) is that they can be started very early (even at 5 years old). Since the goal of these methods is to encourage the jaw to grow to accommodate the teeth, starting early allows you to make the most of your son's young age and all of the growth he has coming. You might want to read this article, which talks about some of the orthodontic options and gives some resources for how to find the right orthodontist dentist (as many orthodontists use braces and do not use these types of appliances):

http://nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.com/2014/07/alternatives-to-conventional-braces.html

Starting early also gives your child the advantage (at least with my daughter's type of appliance) of not having to wear the appliance during the day. She only wears hers at night, whereas my niece who started her treatment around the same time (and is almost 11 years old now) needs to wear her both at night and for some hours in the daytime.

Anonymous said...

How much longer will she wear it for? Or is she finished?

Sarah Smith said...

It really depends on her own growth rate. Her orthodontist can tell by measuring her teeth how much space she will need to fully accommodate all of her teeth with no crowding. So then once she reaches that point and once we can tell that the changes are "holding", then she will be done.

Anonymous said...

Does it cause her much pain/discomfort to wear?

Sarah Smith said...

No, not at all! In the first few weeks of treatment, we gradually increased the amount of time she was wearing the appliance, so that her muscles would get used to it. Part of the reason this type of appliance works as well as it does is that it is training her facial/oral muscles to work the way they are supposed to. So there was a day or two in the very beginning when she first started wearing the appliance all night when she said her muscles were a little sore. But they quickly got used to using the appliance so that now on a day-to-day basis there is no pain or discomfort whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah, I love your blog! I have one question, as a family, do you get any cavities? I am sorry this is a little off-topic, but I am really interested to know whether your lifestyle helps oral health...

Sarah Smith said...

No, we don't get cavities. My husband and I both used to get cavities, back when we were eating more of a typical American diet (lots of processed foods, lowfat foods, even some no-calorie sweeteners like Spelnda, etc). At this point, we haven't had any cavities in over 8 years.

Our dental health isn't absolutely perfect: I had some enamel wear away on the edge of two top teeth while in the midst of nursing/pregnancies (there was a nearly 7 year period when I was constantly either nursing or pregnant). That enamel has not been regained yet, but I am hopeful it will eventually (and it is definitely not getting any worse).

And my daughter had some dental fluorosis on a couple teeth (indicating that her body was having a build-up of fluoride from our water supply). But that was also very isolated, only effected a couple teeth (which were baby teeth), and there is none present now (she already lost those teeth). She also has a couple small spots on two baby teeth that seem to have thinned enamel, but that is not widespread and we are hoping that is just an isolated issue. Things went awry while I was pregnant with her, so she was born very small with a half-sized placenta; it seems to me that is the root issue for her ending up needing orthodontics because her bone structure is so very petite, and it makes sense to me that would also be the root cause of the tooth issues in the baby teeth (which would have been greatly effected by the growth retardation in-womb). My younger child does not have any issues with his teeth, and has lots of space between all of his teeth.

I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sarah for the answer! It did help! I also wanted to ask, what does your diet specifically include? What are the things you never ever consume? And do you believe that sourdough and properly prepared legumes can have a negative effect on teeth? Thank you in advance! :)

Sarah Smith said...

There are no things that we "never ever consume". I started out being very strict with our diets for years, but in hindsight I think that was actually unhealthy from a mental standpoint (worrying over every little detail of our diets and ending up with my daughter being somewhat fixated on sweets). It certainly could be alienating to anyone who ever tried to invite us to share a meal. So I have now found a more balanced perspective over the last few years, and our policy with regards to eating with others now is to be polite and eat whatever is offered to us. :)

Most of our meals are at home, so I do still focus on making sure that we eat mostly "real foods". Candy is nonexistent in our home by-and-large, with the exception of certain holidays (Halloween, Christmas, etc). We are trying to teach our children the principle of moderation, so if they end up with a lot of candy, we encourage them to decide on just a small amount to keep. When it comes to sweets in the form of baked goods, ice cream, etc, we are also working on moderation through looking for balance on a day-to-day basis. For instance, if my kids decide to have something sweet for breakfast (such as muffins or even cookies), they know that lunch should balance that out by not being sweet. They only eat very sweet dessert (such as ice cream) ~twice/week, but again, that is a place where we are teaching them to moderate their own consumption.

Rami Nagel's research into whole grains/phytic acid certainly seems to indicate that they can have a detrimental effect on teeth. His research showed that traditional cultures actually did discard much of the bran/hull of the whole grains as part of their preparation for eating grains. How that translates for our family is that I have no problem with us consuming true-sourdough white bread. We also do eat some sprouted whole grain bread, but I think white sourdough is actually closer to what was consumed in traditional societies who had no dental health issues. (I am referring to true sourdough bread, made with long fermentation times and no yeast.) We actually don't eat much in the way of beans, as even with proper preparation they tend to give us gas. The exception is white navy beans, which we all digest gas-free. I do typically soak them for 12-24 hours in water with a dash of baking soda. So white navy beans are the only type of beans I make with any regularity.

Thanks for asking about these things; I'm realizing this might be a good topic for a future blog post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sarah for the amazing answers you provide!!! I really appreciate it! I love your blog and posts! Yes, it would be great to make some posts about your meal plans/teeth etc.! I do have one question more, I am sorry for asking so much... Do you think that one could have healthy teeth by not eating land animal muscle meat? This means eating a diet that contains bone broth, liver, gelatine, fish (and fish muscle meat), grains, legumes, eggs, dairy etc., just not meat from land animals... Thank you again in advance! :)

Sarah Smith said...

That definitely sounds like a diet that would be healthy and nutrient-dense. I don't see any reason why muscle meat from land animals specifically would be required in a healthy diet that does include liver, bone broth, gelatin, etc.

Anonymous said...

Oh, ok Sarah! Thank you so much! I will wait for the future posts about those topics to come out!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thank you for all your posts about functional orthodontics. I have followed with interest and now after much searching I have found a dentist not too far away who works in this area. We visited last week with my daughter who has crowded teeth and the dentist thinks she is swallowing incorrectly making her teeth crooked so we now have an appliance to correct this and I will be waiting with interest to see how it goes.

Sarah Smith said...

You're welcome! Thanks for letting me know that you have found this series to be helpful. I always love to hear from people who find this blog to be useful, as that is my main motivation in writing it. I wish you and your daughter much success in her orthodontic journey.

Liz said...

Hi Sarah,
I'm wondering how things are going with your daughter's orthodontics. I looked for a more recent update but was not able to find one. Are you pleased with the progress?

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Liz,
Things are still progressing just fine. My daughter is still wearing her appliance at night only, and her dentist is very happy with her progress. She is still using the same appliance she used last year; the dentist is waiting until two more of her adult teeth finish coming through to determine if she will need to go up one more size. Does this answer your questions?