Integrative Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics Serving SF Bay Area
When to Consider an Orthodontic Consultation for Growing Kids

When to Consider an Orthodontic Consultation for Growing Kids

“The time is now.”

Dear Reader,

I hope this newsletter finds my dear Ciao Smiles community well with the season and light changes. Perhaps, take a walk in nature this weekend? I will try to do the same.

No matter what goes on this world, nature keeps its own rhythm; days are getting shorter and the time of quiescence is approaching. With modern lifestyles and the digital technology, our circadian rhythm is disrupted to the level that we have not seen before. More and more, I hear of children having insomnia. People in general are having trouble with time changes.

Thinking about time led me to wonder about “timing.” A few years ago, pre-pandemic time, I was giving talks at Threestone Hearth regularly. During that time, the two most asked questions from parents regarding children’s orthodontics and dentistry was: “When is it a good time to start an orthodontic consultation? When is it a good time to bring my child for a dental visit?”

If you asked me that question 15 years ago, my answer would be, “just wait until all the adult teeth come out,” which is around 12-years-old.

Now I would say: “Go as soon as the baby is born, maybe even while you are pregnant!”

Why the change? It was only after the birth of my daughter did I realize something entirely new, something I didn’t learn from my years of dental school. She was born during cesarean surgery and although she was breastfed for two years and she never had a bottle or pacifier, she would not stop sucking her finger. I tried everything possible to get her to stop with no success.

Sure enough, by the time she was 6-years-old, she started showing the characteristic buck teeth, tongue thrusting, mouth breathing, and speech problems. She was not able to learn or focus, and she showed signs of ADHD. Her preschool asked me to push her back to the lower grade because she was not progressing. I still remember that day and how lost I felt.

“Why my daughter?” I thought. As a daughter of dentist, shouldn’t she have a perfect set of teeth? None of my colleagues were able to tell me what to do other than a speech therapy and ADHD medication.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Necessity is the mother of all invention, someone might say. I was desperate to find a solution.

I was lucky to find Dr. Darick Nordstrom, and with him I started learning an entirely new way of doing Orthodontics using ALF appliance and its principles. My daughter’s mouth changed with a gentle and non invasive therapy. She started learning, progressing, and growing. Now at college, she has a good foundation to continue with the life she chose.

My daughter's teeth aged 6
My daughter's teeth aged 16

The most of jaw growth will finish around age 13 for the girls and 16 for the boys. By the age of 3, the front of the maxilla will almost be the same size as the grown ups! The root cause of crooked teeth are not always genetics as it was believed to be.

The way of mothers give birth, the way mothers carry babies, and the way we feed babies has changed over the years. The use of car seats, bottles, pacifiers and baby carriers and the food we feed our children all contribute how the face and jaw grow.

Function and structure are intimately connected. When kids cannot swallow properly, they will want to eat the kinds of foods that are easy to swallow. If they cannot breathe while chewing, they will naturally eat the easy to chew foods. They can be labeled as a picky eater as a result. Not to mention, the seasonal allergies, the food allergies, and congested tonsils will all contribute to the shape of our face and to the development of our jaw and teeth.

Holistic integrated early orthodontic intervention is necessary to support growing children. Gentle, non invasive treatments can help remove obstacles so that the child can grow into their full potential.

Now at Ciao Smiles, we treat children as early as 2 to 3 years old as soon as we see the beginning of the problem. It doesn’t mean that we are putting braces on a 3-year-old, but we identify the root cause and help find solutions together.

Everything gets easier, when we get the timing right.

Why wait? Ask us at Ciao Smiles how we can help you.

In light and happiness, love,
Dr. Moy at Ciao Smiles

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Dr. Mona Moy
Dr. Mona Moy
Over a Decade of Experience with ALF Orthodontics

Over her more than 30 years of practicing general dentistry, orthodontics, and treating TMJ disorder for all age groups, Dr. Moy observed that many adults with these problems also suffered from other chronic health issues, which started in their early childhood.