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Did you know, 3 out of 4 children have crowded teeth and incorrectly developing jaws. These problems can be seen from as early as 5 years of age.

Modern research has shown that crowded teeth, incorrect jaw development and other orthodontic problems are not caused by big teeth in small jaws or hereditary factors. Mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, reverse swallowing and thumb sucking (known as incorrect myofunctional habits) are the real causes. Allergies, asthma and an open mouth posture also contribute to incorrect jaw development. Growing up, most of us have had one or more of these myofunctional problems, which may have been the cause of incorrect dental and facial development.

Just getting braces, with or without extractions, does not address the underlying causes of crooked teeth. This is why once the braces are removed, the teeth usually crowd up again, unless poor oral habits are corrected. This is why treatment with braces alone commonly results in the need for life-long retainers.

Identifying the bad dental habits

Hereditary factors or big teeth in small jaws are not responsible for crowded teeth or incorrect jaw development. The real culprits are mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, reverse swallowing and thumb sucking, which are known as incorrect myofunctional habits.

If a child is a mouth breather, their tongue is unable to rest in the correct position and the mouth will remain open. This causes the muscles of the jaws and face to restrict correct forward growth, forcing it backwards and downwards resulting in narrow jaws and an underdeveloped face.

This animation demonstrates how much forward growth is lost and highlights the lack of jaw space, which causes teeth to become crowded and does not allow space for the wisdom teeth to come through.

Fact: The tongue is one of the strongest muscles in our body and can exert up to 500g (17.5oz) of force. To put that in perspective, it only takes 1.7g (0.05oz) of force to move a tooth.

Did you know there is a spot in your mouth where the tongue should naturally rest whenever you are not eating or speaking?

The tongue determines the shape and size of the upper jaw. If the child habitually has a low tongue position (as in mouth breathing) the upper teeth will not have enough space and the lower jaw is forced back and down, affecting the way the face grows.

A normal top jaw grows properly because the tongue rests in the correct position (known as the Correct Tongue Resting Position), which is in the roof of your mouth.

If your tongue does not rest in the roof of your mouth, the top jaw will become too narrow and teeth won’t have enough room to grow straight.

Another thing to watch out for is if you’re swallowing the wrong way, with lots of movement in the bottom lip. Incorrect swallowing is when the tongue pushes forward and the lips push back when swallowing. When this happens your front teeth will be pushed backwards and this also causes your teeth to be crowded. A child swallows twice per minute and if they have an incorrect (reverse) swallowing pattern, the facial muscles will push backwards against the direction of growth, preventing the face from developing to its genetic potential.

The overlay on the second part of this video animation illustrates how much normal growth is lost. The resulting lack of space causes the teeth to be crowded and insufficient room for the wisdom teeth.

The forces of the lips and cheeks greatly affect the positioning of the teeth and jaws. Poor muscle tone or incorrect control of the lip and cheek muscles make it difficult for the child to seal their lips together and increases overactivity when swallowing.

When swallowing there should be no activity of the lower lip. Incorrect lip habits cause the lower teeth to be crowded and restrict jaw growth.

Why myobrace?

The Myobrace®System is preventive pre-orthodontic treatment that focuses on addressing the underlying causes of crooked teeth, often without the need for braces or extraction of teeth, unlocking natural growth and development. Treatment is best suited to children aged 3 to 15 and involves using a series of removable intra-oral appliances that are worn for 1-2 hours each day plus overnight while sleeping.

What Myobrace® treatment does:

  • Corrects poor oral habits
  • Develops & aligns the jaws
  • Straightens the teeth
  • Optimises facial development
  • Improves overall health
  • Promotes healthy eating habits

How does it do this? By helping the child:

  • Breathe through the nose
  • Correct tongue resting position
  • Swallow correctly
  • Keep the lips together

How does it work?

Waiting until all permanent teeth have come through to begin treatment with braces can unfortunately lead to irreversible damage affecting not only the teeth, but also the child’s overall health and development.

Poor myofunctional habits (poor oral habits) are evident before all permanent teeth are present, which means treatment of the causes can begin much earlier than originally thought. This can be as early as three years of age.

Myobrace® is designed to deal with these incorrect myofunctional habits by teaching children to breathe through their nose, rest the tongue correctly in the roof of the mouth, swallow correctly and continue widening the jaws so they grow to their full and proper size. This results in sufficient room for the teeth, allowing them to come in naturally straight and often without the need for braces.

The Myobrace®System consists of a series of intra-oral appliances that are worn for one hour each day plus overnight while sleeping. The appliances assist in correcting poor oral habits and expand the arch-form while exerting light forces to align the teeth and jaws. Separate appliances are used depending on the child’s age and type of orthodontic problem. In addition, the patient education program, known as Myobrace®Activities, is used to further correct the myofunctional habits causing the incorrect dental and jaw development. The Activities are to be performed twice daily in conjunction with wearing the Myobrace® appliance and consist of a series of breathing, tongue, swallowing, lip and cheek exercises.

The treatment stages

Myobrace® treatment starts with the habit correction and works through a combination of three or more appliances to correct the causes of orthodontic problems and align the teeth as they grow into the mouth. Treatment can begin as soon as the poor myofunctional habits are recognised however, older children have had more time for the incorrect habits and wrong growth patterns to establish, which can require extra effort for a successful treatment outcome. With good compliance, excellent results can be achieved.

There are typically four stages of treatment with Myobrace® involving: habit correctionarch developmentdental alignmentand then retention.

myobrace-stages

Treatment goals

The goal of The Myobrace®System is to obtain natural development of the jaws and teeth. With good compliance, Myobrace® treatment can offer more than just straighter teeth.

  1. Straighter teeth
  2. Correct alignment of the teeth and jaws
  3. Minimal or no use of braces
  4. No need for extraction of healthy teeth
  5. Reduced need for fixed retainers
  6. Improved facial development
  7. Improved overall health
  8. Develop to genetic potential

It is not always possible to achieve all these goals. Success of treatment is heavily dependent on the child’s compliance to Myobrace® treatment, their biological ability to change habits as well as growth patterns. Generally, the earlier treatment is started – the higher the level of success can be achieved. Good compliance allows for the best results in growing children aged 3 – 15 years.

Getting started

Your first consultation is where you will be told about the Myobrace treatment process. Your practitioner will also be able to answer any questions you may have about the treatment. Once you understand this process and are ready to proceed, records will be taken to properly assess your needs. These records may include photographs, study moulds and possibly x-rays.

On your second consultation your practitioner will discuss the treatment plan they have prepared specifically for you. They will give you an idea of the treatment timeframe, Myobrace appliances required and treatment cost.

On accepting your treatment plan on the second or third consultation, you will be issued with your first Myobrace appliance and will commence your education program with either the Trainer Activities, or Myofunctional Exercises.

To achieve the best results it is essential that you wear your Myobrace appliance each day and attend regular check-ups with your provider and ensure that you follow each of the steps outlined for you in your treatment plan.

How long does myobrace treatment take?

The Myobrace system is almost like a training program. Like study or sport, daily commitment and persistence are required to obtain results  It also depends on the patient’s basic biology for change – therefore sometimes the results are rapid, and at other times it may take more perseverance. Old habits die hard, so the sooner the training program is implemented, the better the growth benefits and the more permanent the result!

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