There are many ways to treat and minimize results of thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, bruxing, clenching, lip or nail biting and mouth breathing habits that result in excessive overjet, overbite, crowding, spacing, crossbites, flared teeth, cheek biting and openbites, affecting the positions of the teeth and jaws.
Habit breaking appliances interrupt the “pattern” of the habit and can be successful in stopping these routines. Tongue/Thumb Cribs and Tongue Spurs are utilized to treat these problems. A physician or ENT evaluation may help determine whether enlarged tonsils or adenoids are preventing proper nasal breathing and causing mouth breathing. Appropriate treatment is recommended to allow better nasal airflow.
Teeth and jaws that are not aligned properly can cause clenching, bruxing and grinding habits. This can lead to excessive wear and “biting” to achieve a comfortable bite.
These habits can cause headaches, jaw/ear pain and are sometimes referred to as TMJ or TMD. Correction of these habits can be accomplished by moving the teeth with braces to a more stable bite, which will ultimately affect the positions of the jaws.
Growth Modification Treatment or Functional Appliances that help correct deficient or excessive skeletal growth of the jaws are designed to “stimulate” the delayed growth or “slow down” the excessive growth. They are used in the top or bottom jaws or both and correct flared teeth as well.
Finally, expansion appliances are used to correct crossbites or narrow and excessive upper and lower jaws. The sooner crossbites are corrected the more stable the correction.
Crossbites can involve front teeth biting behind lower teeth or back teeth biting inside or outside of the top and bottom teeth. Treatments consist of expanding or enlarging the width of the jaws, eliminating crowding, cheek and lip biting.