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In the past, orthodontics was routinely an early teen event that began once all of the baby teeth were gone and permanent teeth were in. Recent advances in the understanding of a child development as well as modern materials have re-evaluated the time for orthodontic treatment to an earlier age. It is now recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that every child should receive an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. But Why?

Common Orthodontic Problems Found At Age 7

1. Buck Teeth. Do the upper front teeth stick way out of line?

2. Deep Bite. Do the upper teeth cover the lower teeth?

3. Underbite. Do the upper teeth fit inside the arch of the lower teeth?

4. Open Bite. Do only the back teeth touch when biting down?

5. Crowded or overlapped teeth. Do the teeth have too much or too little space in certain areas?

6. Misaligned front teeth. Do the spaces between the upper two front teeth and lower two front teeth not line up?

7. Crossbite. Do the lower teeth fit properly inside the upper teeth?

8 .Missing teeth. If there are baby teeth that never developed, there will not be a permanent tooth to follow. Jaw x-rays may also find that certain permanent teeth are not  presently formed or are unable to come down on their own.

9. Extra teeth. When there are double teeth, extra teeth or malformed teeth.

Generally, orthodontic treatment does not begin at age 7 but it is good to get a head start to avoid any complications down the road. However, early orthodontic treatment may be necessary before age 7 if the following appear:

-Problems Speaking

-Proper Chewing Is Difficult

-Abnormal bite development

-Clicking or popping in the jaw

-Permanent teeth that are erutping into the mouth crowded or overlapped

-A thumb sucking problem

-A teeth grinding problem

-Issues biting cheeks or biting into the roof of the mouth

Benefits Of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic evaluation provides both timely diagnosis of problems and increased opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention gives the ability to guide growth and development, preventing more serious issues later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Early orthodontic treatment is also referred to as interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment. Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment include the following:

-Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth

-Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth

-Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth

-Preserving space for teeth that are coming in

-Reducing the need for tooth removal

-Reducing Phase II treatment time with braces

Phase II orthodontic treatment begins when all of the permanent teeth erupt and usually involves a full set of braces and not just a localized treatment plan.

Orthodontic Conclusion

While not every child will need early orthodontic treatment, it is best to know in advance what the options will be going forward. It is important to remember, orthodontics is not strictly a cosmetic endeavor, bite alignment is the ultimate goal. The issues presented above can all be corrected fairly easily if done in a phased approach. However, allowing this early intervention time to pass can complicate treatment requiring more extreme measures (i.e. teeth removal or surgery) to fulfill the same goal.

We have all had it happen…we are sitting in our favorite pizza place waiting for our food to arrive and we impatiently take that first bite as soon as it comes. Next thing we know, we’ve just burned our tongue or roof of the mouth with the hot pizza. That burned  mouth pain will remind us, that we should have waited for that pizza to cool off. We now, regretfully, look towards days of discomfort and pain.

Degrees Of Burn

First Degree Burn – normal signs and symptoms of a 1st degree burn include pain, redness, dryness, and minimal swelling. If you have a first-degree burn in your mouth, the topmost layer of affected tissue in your mouth may peel in 1-2 days, and your mouth should heal on its own in about 3-6 days time. This is the usual “pizza burn”.

Second  degree burns -This level of burn in your mouth and throat can lead to further complications. Second-degree burns often cause severe pain, redness and blistering. This burn involves layers beneath your top layer of skin. They may not heal for weeks and are at higher risk of complications such as infection.

Third-degree burns-This type of burn requires immediate medical attention. Third degree burns can lead to dry, brown, charred, or waxy, white skin. This type of burn usually involves all layers of underlying tissues and may require a skin graft. Because this type of burn damages the nerves, it may not initially be painful. Get immediate medical attention if you think your mouth has a second- or third-degree burn or if you have any internal mouth burn that swells, develops infection and increases in redness.

Tips For A “Pizza Burned” Mouth

The next time a first degree mouth burn happens to you, follow these simple steps to find relief and let it heal faster:

1. Apply Ice – Sucking on an ice cube or eating ice cream can help bring relief from the burning sensation. Even gargling with ice cold water can give relief.

2. Drink Milk – Milk is a great tool in this situation because of its coating action on the skin in the mouth. The milk will coat the burned area.

3. Pain Medication – These can include Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin, or Alleve. These are all  good choices to relieve some of the discomfort. A product called orabase is sometimes helpful as well. Orabase is a topical anesthetic that can help directly on the burned area acting in a localized way. Don’t use anbesol or aspirin directly on a burn, it tends to further irritate the damaged tissues.

4. Avoid Certain Foods – While the burn is healing you want to avoid any food that might irritate it further. These can include acidic foods, crunchy foods, very hot foods,   or even very salty and spicy dressings.

5. Vitamin E – This has been shown to promote would healing so squeezing vitamin E from a capsule over the wound can speed up healing and allow new tissue to grow in and heal the wound.

Another good tip is to maintain good oral hygiene during this period to avoid further infection or irritation. You should keep the area as clean as possible just like any wound on the body. Warm saline rinses are also helpful. This extra care will facilitate healing.

Conclusion

All of us have burned our mouths in the past, and are highly likely to do it again in the future. Try to monitor the temperature of the foods you will be eating, and remember to be patient enough to wait before eating smoking hot food.Use your best judgement before diving into a scalding hot meal or drink, and you will have less frequent painful mouth burns. Another good tip, is to take smaller test bites, so if it is too hot, we would only create a very small burn to our mouth and not have as much discomfort. So, enjoy your pizza, take care not to burn yourself, and if you do, take the proper steps for relief.

Thumb sucking is a common habit and natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or whatever they can get in their mouth may make babies feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world. Thumb sucking can continue as a child grows. They will use the thumb sucking to soothe themselves or help themselves fall asleep.

Is Thumb sucking normal?

Babies have a natural rooting and sucking reflex. This can cause them to put their thumbs or fingers into their mouths. Thumb sucking can sometimes can occur even before birth. Because thumb sucking is soothing to babies, some slowly develop a habit of thumb sucking when they are tired, anxious or simply bored. Some children who are thumb suckers will only suck their thumb, while some will need to hold an object they treasure, like a security blanket or soft stuffed animal.

Does Thumb sucking cause any problems?

Unfortunately thumb sucking can cause problems for children if it continues. Thumb sucking in children younger than 4 is usually not an issue for development. Children who suck their thumbs often or with increased aggressiveness after 4-5 years of age, or those who are still sucking their

effects of thum sucking

Effects of Thumb sucking

thumbs at age 6, are at risk for dental  or speech problems. Once the permanent teeth begin to come in and develop in the mouth, the persistent thumb sucking may cause top teeth to push out and upward, and bottom teeth to push inward. This tooth movement can cause development of a “buck tooth” appearance, an inability to close the front teeth (open bite), damage to the roof of the mouth, and subsequent speech issues. Pacifiers cause similar issues as thumb sucking but the habit of using the pacifier is a far easier habit to break, it can be thrown out, a finger can not. What determines if thumb sucking causes dental problems or not is the intensity and length of time of the thumb sucking. Checking a child’s thumb for damaged skin and calluses can help determine the aggressiveness of the thumb sucking habit. Many children simply rest their thumbs in their mouth. These children are far less likely to develop any long term issues from their version of thumb sucking. On the other hand, an aggressive thumb sucker may develop issues with their primary and permanent teeth (if they are still thumb sucking at that point when they erupt.

Speech problems caused by thumb sucking are related to the misaligned teeth, distorted palate, and tongue thrusting. The tongue does not have the ability to find the correct placement for proper enunciation, and the tongue muscle needs to be retrained. Tongue thrusting is the pushing forward motion of the tongue when swallowing, causing a continued pressure on the teeth even when not thumb sucking.Speech problems can include not being able to properly say S’s, T’s and D’s, lisping, and tongue thrusting when talking.

Children who are thumb suckers may need treatment for the following reason:

-They have not stopped thumb sucking on their own by age 4-5.

-Speech problems are becoming noticeable.

-If they are teased or feel embarrassed by their sucking.

Treatment

At home treatment by children can include:

-Gentle reminders from parents and loved ones. When you notice your child sucking their thumb, gently remind him or her to stop. You should always avoid criticizing or making fun of your child. This will only create stress.

-Positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in this area. Provide small rewards when they are not sucking their thumbs for extended periods of time. A reward could be as simple as an extra trip to the park or a slightly later bedtime.

-Competing response. Parents should give their child encouragement to do a different activity when they feel the urge to suck their thumbs. Could be something like squeezing a pillow.

Parents should also take away the child’s security blanket or stuffed animal during certain times of day. This will limit the amount of sucking. Another option is putting gloves on the hands or placing band aids over the thumb in question. This can help the child by reminding them they should not suck their thumbs.

If home treatment does not work and you are worried or feel frustrated about your child’s thumb sucking you should talk with your child’s dentist or doctor. There may be other treatment options, such as behavioral therapy, special nail polish for thumbnail, thumb devices, or devices for the mouth (habit appliances). A dental habit appliance is only a good idea for children who have not been able to stop thumb sucking on their own and have asked for help. It is usually something non removable, blocking the roof of the mouth to make thumb sucking impossible. It is worn for a few weeks to months and then removed by the dentist.

thumb sucking nail treatment

Thumb sucking nail treatment

Remember that thumb-sucking usually is not a problem until a child starts kindergarten or later. Most children will cease the activity on their own if you give them enough time. Slowly but surely, most children begin to stop thumb sucking on their own around ages 3-6 years old. If you notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, or are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking consult your dentist.