Early Treatment of Malocclusion: A Guidance System for the Hygienist

The most common questions parents ask are “Does my child need braces?” and “When and who should treat it?” Seven out of ten children will have developed a malocclusion by the time they have reached peak puberty. Ninety percent of these malocclusions are tooth related, caused by environmental issues such as oral habits and medically induced mouth breathing.

The remaining 10 percent of developing pediatric malocclusions are skeletal-based, caused by heredity and neuromuscular problems. These conditions can affect normal jaw growth and development in the transverse, horizontal and vertical planes of craniofacial growth. It is the goal of pediatric orthodontics to intercept and rectify abnormal growth patterns of the craniofacial structures. The correction of a malocclusion is an elective decision, focusing on esthetics and function. Both esthetics and function, without question affect a child’s quality of life and societal relationships. Recommended treatment in the United States and abroad can be delivered in one of three ways:

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