Updated: May 29, 2018
I've received a few requests lately to post an update on my daughter's journey with her orthodontic treatment.
My daughter, Alina, is almost 10 years old, and she's been using an orthodontic appliance for nearly 3 years. We started Alina's orthodontic treatment early so that we could make the most of her growing years. Rather than using braces, which are well known to not work very well in the long-term, we are using an orthodontic appliance designed to stimulate the palate and jaw to grow larger.
Despite a nutrient-dense diet, Alina's palate and jaw did not naturally develop large enough to accommodate her adult teeth. After researching alternatives to braces and talking with an excellent pediatric dentist who specializes in developmental orthodontics, we decided to use a plastic myofunctional appliance made by Ortho-Tain.
How Alina Uses Her Orthodontic Appliance
Alina wears her Ortho-Tain orthodontic appliance every night while she sleeps. Because we started her treatment early, she does not need to wear the appliance during the daytime at all (whereas if we had waited a few more years before starting, she would have needed to wear it at night as well as for a few hours in the daytime). Alina tries to remember to bite down hard on her appliance a few times whenever she puts it in her mouth, to strengthen the muscles in her mouth and jaw and further encourage her palate to enlarge.
Alina has been very cooperative with this whole process and has done a fantastic job of wearing her appliance. Her orthodontist is very pleased with her progress and gives her all the credit for being the one to do the work of wearing the appliance and following his instructions.
Our Results From Three Years of Treatment
Over the course of her orthodontic treatment, Alina has progressed through three sizes of orthodontic appliance. This means that her palate and jaw have grown significantly so that she was able to progress to increasingly larger appliances. Currently, Alina has lost 8 baby teeth. Based on the size of her adult teeth, the appliance Alina is currently using may be the last one she needs (but we will know more when she loses more of her baby teeth).
And now for the pictures!
Pre-treatment (April 2014) - Alina's baby teeth have no space between them (minus the one spot where she is missing a tooth).
February 2017 - Her beautiful smile, after almost 3 years of orthodontic treatment.
There is more space for her adult teeth on the bottom now compared to in the last update I posted.
There is plenty of room for all of her adult teeth thus far.
For information about our journey into orthodontic care, check out the rest of the articles in this series.