Difficult to get orthodontics to work in younger children

March 16, 2017, University of Gothenburg
A myobrace front. Credit: Emina Cirgic

Nagging by parents—and the ingenuity of the child. Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy shows that there are success factors when children with a severe overjet have irregularities of the teeth corrected at an early age. However, the treatment is tough for most children and their families.

"Some were ashamed and didn't want tell anyone at all that they wore an appliance; only their best pal knew. Others immediately took it with them to school and displayed it as a trophy. How a person experiences it is very individual," says Emina Cirgic, a postdoctoral researcher in odontology and senior orthodontic consult within the National Dental Service in Gothenburg.

Her research is about 7-14-year-olds with a severe overjet, where the lips do not cover their teeth. The children are at a lively age and risk being injured when the lips cannot function as cushions for the teeth in the manner they usually do.

In the group that was studied and interviewed of about a 100 children, 13% had also been teased. There were often called "rabbits" due to their overjet.

Not a good idea to wait

For younger children with both milk teeth and permanent teeth i their mouths, a so-called mixed dentition, a removable appliance is the answer. This fixes the upper and lower jaw to each other, renders speech impossible, and is mostly used at night.

The alternative is to wait until all permanent teeth have come up and correct the overjet with a fixed brace. However, the protruding teeth remain unprotected during several sensitive years.

An aktivator. Credit: Emina Cirgic

"In this situation, you have to tell parents and children that if we don't reduce the overjet there is a risk they will knock their teeth out and have injuries for life. But treatment is difficult; all orthodontics hurt, and in order to cope all parties must be involved. This is a team job," Emina Cirgic emphasizes.

Six of ten individuals in the group studied failed with their treatment due to the human factor. The children simply did not use the appliance for the number of hours required; at least 10 hours day.

The children's own tricks

"It was really important that parents nagged, and the mothers nagged most. But it was also exciting to hear how the children who succeeded had thought out their own ways to be reminded. Some let Post-it notes everywhere at home; someone had clock that rang after training and others placed the appliance on their bed or desk so as not to forget it," says Emina Cirgic.

The children also invented their own ways of measuring success. Some by using a simple thumb grip in the space under the protruding front teeth. There they could feel how the span slowly closed from month to month when the were pressed back.

The studies used two types of removable appliances, a traditional type in rigid plastic and a more modern one of silicon.

The latter was more flexible to the changes that occurred naturally in the mouth of the children and resulted in less visits to the dentist to adjust the appliance. However, from the point of view of results, the models were equal.

"This is something we really recommend, but as a specialist, it is easy to only look at the treatment and forget that there are a lot more things that and parents must make time for during everyday life. What I have learned is to be honest and tell them that it is difficult. Starting something where you see that it won't succeed only creates disappointment and leads to a waste of resources," states Emina Cirgic.

Explore further: New braces clinical trial sheds metal brackets

More information: Link to the thesis: gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/50856

Related Stories

New braces clinical trial sheds metal brackets

March 16, 2017
The use of terms like "metal mouth" and "brace face" may soon be a thing of the past.

Tooth loss linked to an increased risk of dementia

March 8, 2017
In a study of 1566 community-dwelling Japanese elderly who were followed for 5 years, the risk of developing dementia was elevated in individuals with fewer remaining teeth.

Buck teeth: Correct them once in early adolescence

December 18, 2013
Children with prominent front teeth, colloquially known as buck teeth, often require orthodontic work to straighten their teeth and improve both their bite and appearance. This can be done in one stage during early adolescence ...

DIY teeth-straightening: don't try this at home

March 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—An orthodontist recalled a patient who devised her own means of straightening two wayward teeth.

What parents can do to promote good dental health

August 7, 2015
(HealthDay)—Parents can take several steps to make sure their kids maintain healthy dental habits when they head back to school, an expert says.

Recommended for you

Toothpaste alone does not prevent dental erosion or hypersensitivity

March 14, 2018
The rising prevalence of dental erosion and dentin hypersensitivity has led to the emergence of more toothpastes that claim to treat these problems. While no such toothpaste existed 20 years ago, today, many such brands are ...

Study: Absence of key protein, TTP, rapidly turns young bones old

March 10, 2018
The absence of a protein critical to the control of inflammation may lead to rapid and severe bone loss, according to a new University at Buffalo study.

Sipping hot fruit teas can lead to tooth erosion

February 26, 2018
An investigation by scientists at King's College London into why some people suffer tooth erosion while others don't has found that it's not just what they eat and drink, but how they eat and drink, that increases their chances ...

Lack of guidance may delay a child's first trip to the dentist

February 19, 2018
Without a doctor or dentist's guidance, some parents don't follow national recommendations for early dental care for their children, a new national poll finds.

Researcher uses stem cells to attack bacteria and regenerate dental pulp

February 7, 2018
Emi Shimizu's research could someday transform a procedure dental patients dread: the root canal.

Cavity prevention approach effectively reduces tooth decay

January 22, 2018
A scientifically based approach that includes a tooth-decay risk assessment, aggressive preventive measures and conservative restorations can dramatically reduce decay in community dental practices, according to a study by ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.