One of the most common problems orthodontists treat is the discrepancy that occurs when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower. Ordinarily, when we see a patient with the upper teeth protruding, we tend to think that the upper jaw and teeth are too far forward; but, more often than not, this condition is due to a small lower jaw that is further back than it should be. With these patients, we would like to encourage the lower jaw to catch up in growth, and braces like the Herbst appliance help this happen.
The Herbst appliance is potentially the most effective appliance in altering jaw growth because of its full-time action. Patients can still open and close easily and because it’s a fixed appliance, patients don’t have to “remember” to wear it.
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your dentist.
One solution to preventing thumb sucking is to use a fixed tongue training appliance. This appliance is put on the child’s upper teeth by an orthodontist and is barely visible. It’s placed behind the upper teeth on the roof of the mouth. The appliance prevents the patient from putting their thumb in the roof of their mouth and is fastened to molars using steel bands. The appliance usually stops the habit of thumb sucking within the first day of use.
A rapid palatal expander, also known as rapid maxillary expander, palate expander, orthodontic expander, Haas, or Hyrax, is utilized to make the upper jaw wider so that the bottom and upper teeth can better fit together. The use of a rapid palatal expander is very common in children and produces quick, predictable results. Use of the palatal expander is most often followed by braces to straighten out the teeth since sufficient space has been created.