Eleven-year-old Janet had a severe overbite and she was serious about improving her smile. "Her overbite was so obvious, I just knew something was wrong. I was afraid she would have problems with her mouth when she got older," recalled Janet's mother.
Most people think an overbite is caused when the upper teeth stick out. Actually, most overbite problems result from a short lower jaw. With modern techniques and a willing child, an orthodontist can help the short lower jaw grow in to line with the upper teeth. In the past the only solution to Janet's problem was headgear that would pull the upper teeth back to match the lower jaw. But Janet's new smile was shaped in just nine months without traditional braces or headgear.
She was one of a growing number of patients able to benefit from a device designed in Europe called a Bionator. Unlike traditional braces, the plastic and wire device is removable, but only for cleaning and eating. Patients must learn to wear it for more than 20 hours a day.
Orthodontic attention while a child is young can often straighten out crooked teeth before they have a chance to get worse. By redirecting the growth of the jaw, orthodontics can often enhance features in the middle and lower parts of the face. Results can be quite striking. In Janet's case, she became more enthusiastic and outgoing as her smile and self-image improved.
Other types of braces that are available today are invisible braces, clear braces, ceramic braces, and a procedure known as Invisalign® .
When children become aware of themselves and those around them, one of the first things they notice is the face. And nicknames like "Fang and "Buck Beaver" can leave a permanent mark on childhood memories. Unfortunately, children can be brutally cruel to each other because they are brutally honest. Correcting an overbite by controlling the source of the problem, jaw growth, orthodontics can help children face growing up with zeal and self confidence.