Questioning merits of Orthodontia. Please weigh in! - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-21-2010, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel like I’m wading into a huge mess with this topic, but not really finding a lot of pertinent information. I apologize for this horrendously-long post, but don’t know how to get into it without just laying the whole thing out!

Please weigh in with any
  • natural-health perspectives you may have
  • comments on later-life problems that were caused by orthodontia (or problems that the braces did not sufficiently ever correct).
Part of my reservations about orthodontics come are the practicalities of their efficacy. Part of my reservations are more on the philosophical side.

In point: I’m questioning the need for orthodontic work. If need is determined to be “yes”, I’m still left questioning the success and side effects of appliances and braces.

Please do not refer me to some dentist’s website advertising “problems” with braces such as the need to wear wax initially! While dentists certainly have some expertise in this area, I do think they are quite like obstetricians (When you’re holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail).

This is becoming a topic of increasing interest to me because we are starting to hear recommendations for our kids to have extractions of permanent teeth, appliances, and later braces.

My personal orthodontics experience:
  • Lots of very crooked teeth on Dad’s side of the family.
  • Had four permanent teeth extracted in elementary school.
  • Had two different sets of appliances (top & bottom each time) in elementary school. Each were for two years or so. Both times, we were told that if we did that round of appliances, I likely wouldn’t need braces.
  • Got braces in junior high. Supposedly they were supposed to be for a year due to all the work already done. Had them for almost two years.
  • Had straight teeth at the end. Had a wire bonded into the bottom and a removable retainer for the top. Dentist’s plan of gradually weaning off the upper retainer as the teeth stabilized never happened. I could never reduce wear without noticeable and quick shifting, so had a wire bonded into the top as well.
  • Having had almost no cavities ever, got a rash of cavities in the year after braces were removed. Dentist then said that this was a common “side effect” of braces that they had noticed but did not understand as the cavities are usually in the grinding surfaces (not around the braces) and appear shortly after the braces are removed.
  • Had some episodes of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction - a problem with the jaw joint) in the few years after having braces. This later resolved. I always wondered if it was related to braces, but have little to go on there.
  • Maintained the wires and went in for cement touch-ups whenever a piece chipped loose and was not securing the tooth. This might have been every 4-5 years on average.
  • About 2 years ago (so almost 15 years since braces were off) teeth shifted before I could get broken cement re-bonded. I was pretty PO’d after all the pain and expense I’d put up with other the years, so I did a 3-course treatment of Invisalign retainers over several months (at a cost of $800) to correct the shift.
  • During the Invisalign treatments, I was alarmed to suddenly find my dentist sanding off the enamel between my teeth to “make more room”. Despite my detailed questions before agreeing to Invisalign, this had not been discussed as a possibility and given how dental professionals hound about the importance of maintaining tooth enamel, his reply that the portion removed was “insignificant” seemed disingenuous.
In summary, my personal experience has taught me that:
  1. Claims of early orthodontia making the process shorter and less-involved later are probably bunk.
  2. Most orthodontic treatments are quite painful and have periods of “extremely painful”.
  3. The dentist’s proclamations at the time about how permanent straightened teeth are appears to be nonsense. Several dental folks have told me since then that teeth are always trying to return to their original alignment and that maintaining straight teeth is a permanent struggle.
  4. There are a number of serious and long-lasting side effects of braces that are not discussed before treatments are started.
Given the great expense, the pain orthodontics caused me and the continued battle to maintain the work, I cannot say with certainty that I think any of my ortho work was a good idea. Sure, I like having straight teeth now. But do I think it was all worth it? . . . Meh. . .

Current Situation with Daughters
  • DD #1 has a complete crossbite. The enamel on the bottom edge of the two front teeth is wearing away as it rubs on the backside of her front lower teeth. Dentist recommends braces.
  • DD#2 has a partial crossbite. Dentist recommends extracting one or two teeth and using appliances to straighten teeth and stretch the palate wider. DD#2 is 7. Dentist says this is optimal time as palate responds well, but teeth are not all shifty as happens in puberty. Says appliances now will likely prevent braces later.
My questions/objections are (beyond the issues I outlined above):
  1. Is stressing the body to try to re-shape a palate a good idea?
  2. Why is it suitable to do palate re-shaping in childhood if things get all messed-around by puberty? (Is there sense to doing it as a late teen when things are more established - even if it takes longer - or is that just stressing the body even harder?)
  3. What other negative side effects of orthodontia are possibilities that I have not personally encountered?
On the less tangible side of things, I’ve considered:
  • Society’s premium on a perfect smile. Very crooked teeth may reduce self-confidence, diminish attractiveness in dating, influence other first impression such a job hirings, and cause others to stereo-type the individual with crooked teeth as less cultured or less intelligent.
  • Conversely, the childhood social struggles of slurping through appliances, losing them to the garbage can in a wad of tissue forgotten on the table (lost case again!) and being teased about braces aren’t exactly confidence boosters, either. Younger children are probably less equipped to deal with social slights than an older teen or young adult.
  • Orthodontia is altering the child’s body and the child has limited maturity to properly understand what she is committing to.
It just makes me wonder if orthodontia isn’t simply a very commonly accepted body modification for questionable benefit. I’m pretty sure there are lots of us walking around with poorly-formed nasal passages and that a specialist could probably surgically “improve” them. There would probably be some cosmetic improvements and may be some health improvements in terms of easier sleeping, etc. But that particular type of modification isn’t common. Braces are.

Yes, I’ve read about all the health ilks of crooked teeth, but I’m not sure that it’s a legitimate concern. My dad’s extended family has rampantly crooked teeth. Strictly from a health perspective (eg. more cavities, gingivitis), this doesn’t seem to have caused anyone any problems. I’ve been peeking carefully lately and there are a surprising number of people with crooked teeth. Especially if they are the lower teeth, it’s often not particularly noticeable.

I also wonder about a “partial” approach. Orthodontia always seems to be a whole-hog quest for the most perfect result possible. What about modest extractions to relieve some crowding, but then just let the teeth come in without palate re-shaping or straightening of teeth and re-alignment of bites?

Whew! You have waded through MDC’s longest-ever post. Please, please, weigh in with your comments, perspectives, and experience. I’m stranded!

Six kids, sixth sense, six degrees of separation. . . from sanity!
Not sure that I'm crunchy, but definitely a "tough chew".
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:06 AM
 
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its my understanding that if you chew your food better, then your whole body is healthier... crooked teeth can cause all kinds of problems for your whole body, including not properly chewing food--so it stresses the digestive system, etc.

It is harder to keep crooked teeth properly flossed and clean...

but these are just assumptions I've held.

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Old 01-21-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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I personally, had ver similar experiences in orthodontia to yours including the cavities and TMJ. Mine were on from the day before Halloween in third grade to the beginning of 9th.

I have opted for the whole shebang with two of my children so far. After much research on braces in general and orthodontists treatment philosophies in my area specifically, we think we chose one that meshed with out philosophies.

Our dd also had a crossbite that was affecting her teeth and her jaw alignment. She had a palate expander at 4. Yes, we started that early but it was really affecting her ability to bite and chew. We used it for a little less than a year I think. She didn't get full on braces until 7th grade. Our ortho doesn't believe in the 2 step approach that some seem to. He also doesn't believe in pulling teeth. There was a new kind of braces invented in 2005 (I think) that have doors keeping the wire in instead of rubber bands. He uses theese because he believes they do a better job mechanically, they are faster because there is less friction between the parts and he believes they're better for the surface of the teeth. Our dd only took about 18 mos to be done. And although she was supposed to wear her retainer all the time she lost it in a fire and honestly, her teeth have barely shifted. She still has never had a cavity.

DS gets his on the 28th.

Could it be a load of doo-doo? Absolutely, but it's the choice we made for our kids after looking in to it a lot.
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your reply!

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Originally Posted by carmel23 View Post
its my understanding that if you chew your food better, then your whole body is healthier... crooked teeth can cause all kinds of problems for your whole body, including not properly chewing food--so it stresses the digestive system, etc.
This is an interesting perspective that I hadn't considered.

I can see somewhat how this could be the case (comparing to the strain a congenital joint malformation can cause on a body).

On the other hand, I wonder if the degree of proper chewing of the food isn't just a point of splitting hairs. Not to be gross, but if chewed up some food with my now-straightened teeth and my dad chewed similar food with his really crooked teeth, I think we'd be spitting out pretty similarly-mangled lumps. Also, most of the pre-digesting done by the teeth is the job of the molars, but unless the bite misalignment is really severe, most of the work to straighten teeth seems to be cosmetic on the front teeth

I will definitely put more thought into this, though, and thank you for raising the point.

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Not sure that I'm crunchy, but definitely a "tough chew".
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK! I'm all over you with further questions (partly b/c your own experience was similar, and partly b/c your kids are older than mine)

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Originally Posted by 34me View Post
She had a palate expander at 4. Yes, we started that early but it was really affecting her ability to bite and chew.
How could you tell that the crossbite was hindering her ability to bite and chew?

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Originally Posted by 34me View Post
Our ortho doesn't believe in the 2 step approach that some seem to. He also doesn't believe in pulling teeth.
What is "the 2 step approach"? Why does your ortho not support it? Why does he not support pulling teeth? (Just thinking back to my own: having had 4 permanent teeth and 4 wisdom teeth pulled and looking at the size of my jaw, I just don't see any way anything could have been straightened without extractions! But I'd like to know more about what you know).

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Originally Posted by 34me View Post
There was a new kind of braces invented in 2005 (I think) that have doors keeping the wire in instead of rubber bands.
Yes, I was reading about these earlier tonight. Damon braces, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post
After much research on braces in general and orthodontists treatment philosophies in my area specifically, we think we chose one that meshed with out philosophies.
What sorts of questions did you ask dentists to determine if they were a good fit for your family? Where your own philosophies well-defined by the time you were doing that? I feel like I'm stumbling here because I'm not sure where I stand on it at all.

Thank you for your time!

Six kids, sixth sense, six degrees of separation. . . from sanity!
Not sure that I'm crunchy, but definitely a "tough chew".
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:57 AM
 
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Thankfully I'm a long time away from my kids possibly needing braces, however this is my experience.

It seems to me that for a lot of kids, orthodontia is a hugely expensive, entirely unnessicary procedure.

I had oh 5 years of braces? a first set just on the top in elementary school, and top and bottom in middle school. My teeth are straighter, probably a little straighter than they were when I was a kid, however my teeth were never horrible, and honestly I don't really like my smile now. (since my teeth "wouldn't fit in my mouth", the orthodontist made them flare outwards. Not pretty.) I have found that my teeth seem to have stayed mostly the same without the wire, which i had taken out a year after taking the braces off. I wasn't ok with having metal in my mouth forever.)
Basically, I would say in my case it was a great deal of money for a very small thing that made me feel self-concious, and didn't really do anything overall for my smile, or my eating. I also recently had my wisdom teeth pulled, so somehow the orthodontist took my teeth from fitting just fine, even if a bit crowded to not fitting in my mouth, even pre-wisdom teeth.

However, if your child has issues which impact chewing, or horribly crooked teeth, might be a whole different story, and perfectly useful, I don't know.

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Old 01-21-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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There's a very different approach out there, I can explain it in brief and link a couple places.

A guy named Weston Price, a dentist, wrote a book in the 1930s called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He concluded that dental problems are manifestations of nutritional deficiencies--how one family shows those problems would be different than another, but basically, everyone has the potential to have well-formed dental arches, no malocclusion, like that. But our society has drifted so far from good nutrition (and he defines this very differently than anything that's considered mainstream in the US) that most people have some sort of crowding/malocclusion/etc.

Price's book is available in full, free online (google for it), and it has amazing pictures, closely related groups of people, some of whom ate their traditional diets, and others who've added in refined modern foods. Other pictures show generational changes, and the difference from the parents, with beautiful wide dental arches, to the children with crowded teeth, narrow arches, that matches when the parents changed their diets in adulthood (thus prenatal nutrition for the kids), is shocking--the pictures are powerful IMO.

Here's a blog that pulls in other researchers, historical and contemporary, with links to studies, that fleshes out the idea pretty well.

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/

You could search for dental or teeth and get just the posts on that topic, the blog is about nutrition as a whole, but specifically discusses Price's findings as they relate to dental issues.

I feel my kids high, arched palates, dental crowding and such are nutritional issues (prenatal) and I am trying to address it with nutrition (food and supps, along the lines discussed in the Curing Cavities through Nutrition sticky) plus structural support. We've got a DO who does cranial-sacral therapy, it can help encourage improvement, and it can focus quite specifically on the head/face/jaw, so it seems like a good fit for dental/oral issues. For us, I think the structural support will be important--it'll be a long-term thing, not just a few visits, but I am hoping that the money I spent there will be instead of orthodontic costs.

So, my kids are 3 and 6 and it'll be a while before I know if this really works. I've read enough to think that this is possible--not a guarantee, but the more growing time a child has left and the better you can get the nutrition, the higher the likelihood of success, it seems. Not sure how old your DD#1 is, but maybe another approach to consider for both kids.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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I had braces to correct slightly crooked teeth and a overbite. It was a complete and total waste of time, my teeth are competely shifted back and I've always felt that my bite wasn't quite right afterwards. I had 4 permanent teeth removed and I could really have used a couple later in life.

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Old 01-21-2010, 11:45 PM
 
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I had a fair bit of work done. And I'm VERY glad I did.
I had really terrible teeth. I did/do have a slight overbite, but because of the other issues, the chosen plan was to leave the overbite be. The other corrections lessened it, and that was the end of that.

I got braces the first time in 5th grade. Just upper braces on the front teeth. That was purely aesthetic. My teeth were really bad, and my parents were concerned that I would be treated poorly in middle school. Up to that point, I didn't have a specific problem with how my teeth looked. Now I look back at pictures and, WOW, they were terrible! I'm embarrassed for people to even see pictures. That process was fine. It was only about 4 or 5 months. The teeth straightened out, got the braces off, wore a retainer a while, fine.

Then in 8th grade they did the whole shebang. I had expanders on the top and bottom. I had full braces for two years with the rubber bands and all that stuff. At one point they discussed headgear at night, but for whatever reason we never did that.
My primary problem is that my jaw was too small. I do believe this to be true. I do have occasional TMJ problems, but I don't necessarily think that's related to the orthodontic work. It's likely more an issue because of my jaw being small.
I do have the permanent retainer on the bottom. I don't mind it, and nothing's ever chipped off. My top teeth did shift slightly, but they're SO much better than where they were before that it doesn't bother me at all.

I am so so glad that my parents made such a point to find a way to afford this. I know it was a great strain on them at points. But I am so glad it's not something I had to worry about later, either from a self esteem/embarrassment point or of having to get braces as an adult.
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:57 PM
 
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OP, I sort of agree with you. I think there is a very unhealthy fixation with having "perfect" teeth that causes otherwise sensible people to do atrocious things to their kids.

That's not to say that there aren't people who genuinely need orthodontia. I think severe cosmetic issues should be addressed, but it's gotten to the point where I wonder how many kids who go to an initial consult are told they don't need braces. My guess is that it's pretty close to zero.

Perhaps horribly crooked teeth do or can cause some medical problems. But I suspect those cases are few and far between. People aren't keeling over wholesale in countries where orthodontia isn't the norm because they aren't chewing perfectly.

The two phase approach means that you start the braces on the kid practically in utero, and put on a second set when they are older. I've researched the refereed dental literature, and it looks like when this practice is studied objectively, there are no benefits that cannot be measured in yacht payments.

My sister took my nephew to ten different orthos for initial consults. Her son's teeth were crooked, but not horrifically so. She got ten wildly different treatment plans. One guy announced that he would start by breaking my nephew's jaw, at which point she pulled him out of the chair and left. After a couple of years in braces, his teeth are fine.

We've been delaying in taking kids for an ortho consult because I'd never do the two phase thing and don't want to hear about it. One thing that I don't worry about that a pp mentioned is the stigma of wearing braces. Since nearly all kids in our income bracket get them, nobody pays much attention to it.
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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I had quite a bit of work done. I began seeing the ortho at age 8, got braces at age 11 and kept them on for two years. In the three years of ortho care before I actually got braces I had several baby and permanent teeth extracted. I have a very small mouth and the extractions were necessary to make room. After the braces (and the horrible rubber bands) came off I had a retainer for several years, but found it painful and a nuisance to wear so I rarely did. I did have two of my bottom front teeth shift after the braces came off (the retainer was supposed to have prevented that). All in all I do not regret having the work done as I love my teeth now, but it was incredible painful, time consuming (monthly trips to the ortho for years) and expensive. I remember the payment book my parents had for the monthly payment plan. My dental work cost several thousand dollars and this was back in the 1980s.

I never had a problem with cavities. In fact I have had only one in my lifetime and that wasn't till age 30. I did however develop TMJ after the braces came off. It's been awhile since the last flare up, but for a period of several years it caused me considerable pain (have you ever had to have your jaw snapped back into place?? It's awful). I recently had a conversation with my dentist about TMJ and she said there is a connection between TMJ and having had permanent teeth extracted. She said that is why orthos now are doing less extractions and using expanders instead.

Honestly, I have no advice for your particular situation. My oldest just turned 7. Our dentist (he sees the same one as I do) said that age 7 is the recommended age for the first ortho visit. My ds just lost his first tooth a few months ago and right now I really think going to an ortho would be pointless. Ds' baby teeth were perfectly spaced and straight and not crowded and within the last few months appear to have moved and most teeth now have discernible spaces inbetween. Could his jaws have grown? By the time I was his age I had several permanent teeth and much crowding, the need for ortho care for me was obvious. With my ds, I just don't know.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone! I appreciate the continue replies keeping this thread alive and am getting a lot from the varied perspectives. Keep it coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
There's a very different approach out there, I can explain it in brief and link a couple places. A guy named Weston Price, a dentist, wrote a book in the 1930s called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He concluded that dental problems are manifestations of nutritional deficiencies. . .
Thank you for this information. Every Google search I could think of was just coming up with dentist's websites promoting their services and addressing short-term side effects of dental work. I am definitely going to read more about Weston Price.

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Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
I think severe cosmetic issues should be addressed, but it's gotten to the point where I wonder how many kids who go to an initial consult are told they don't need braces. My guess is that it's pretty close to zero.
Yes! This is a significant part of what's giving me pause about the whole thing.

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Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
People aren't keeling over wholesale in countries where orthodontia isn't the norm because they aren't chewing perfectly.
Also a good point. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
My sister took my nephew to ten different orthos for initial consults. Her son's teeth were crooked, but not horrifically so. She got ten wildly different treatment plans.
I suspect this experience of your sister's wasn't unique, which just makes the whole thing that much more difficult to chart a course through.

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Originally Posted by mama1803 View Post
I recently had a conversation with my dentist about TMJ and she said there is a connection between TMJ and having had permanent teeth extracted. She said that is why orthos now are doing less extractions and using expanders instead.
Hmmm. . . another possibility that's new to me. Now that the topic has been raised, maybe I can do some more fruitful Googling on that. Thanks for mentioning it.

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Old 01-22-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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You might want to try looking for studies in Medline.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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Ditto Weston Price perspective as Tanya posted. Processed foods and a diet low in key nutrients (vitamins A, D, K and minerals) are the cause of narrowed palates, narrowed faces, weak chins, ears that stick out, etc. as the body prioritizes the skeleton over facial development. Braces cannot correct fundamental changes in facial development that can occur due to lack of nutrients. The body does not grow to it's genetic blueprint if not supplied with proper nutrients to support growth. Once you know this, you will never look at people around you in the same way.

Great nutrition:

Eric Dane and Terry O'Quinn - tall men but had adequate nutrition to build a wide face, strong jaw, wide palate, flat ears... wonder what they ate growing up!
http://image3.examiner.com/images/bl...ric-dane-1.jpg

Josh Holloway too http://z.about.com/d/lost/1/0/K/1/-/...081506-517.jpg

Poor nutrition:

Michael Phelps - despite eating a lot of food, his nutrient deficient diet has been widely publicized as containing a lot of pasta and pizza and sugar resulting in a narrow palate, ears that stick out and narrowed face.
http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy...d_3p.widec.jpg

also Freddie Highmore, another good example of diminished facial development
http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/0/e/...passprem18.jpg

Many people have various degrees of faces that have not fully developed. I do... I have a wide face but my palate and mouth is very narrow and my chin is slightly weak. Neither my parents or all my grandparents have this at all, all have/had perfect wide palates and very straight teeth. I needed braces... badly!

My son will be going in for an ortho consult and some measuring with our Weston Price style dentist. His bite and wrist bones will be measured to track his growth. Will learn more about it and post!

We may be doing palate expansion if need be rather than braces. We've had a lot of success expanding his palate with a traditional diet as I have documented with pictures through the years, but he could still require some help as he grows due to where we started at birth (heart shaped face and more narrow palate than genetics intended). His adult bottom teeth have straightened since coming in and his palate has widened.
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneS View Post
Ditto Weston Price perspective as Tanya posted. Processed foods and a diet low in key nutrients (vitamins A, D, K and minerals) are the cause of narrowed palates, narrowed faces, weak chins, ears that stick out, etc. as the body prioritizes the skeleton over facial development. Braces cannot correct fundamental changes in facial development that can occur due to lack of nutrients. The body does not grow to it's genetic blueprint if not supplied with proper nutrients to support growth. Once you know this, you will never look at people around you in the same way.

Great nutrition:

Eric Dane and Terry O'Quinn - tall men but had adequate nutrition to build a wide face, strong jaw, wide palate, flat ears... wonder what they ate growing up!
http://image3.examiner.com/images/bl...ric-dane-1.jpg

Josh Holloway too http://z.about.com/d/lost/1/0/K/1/-/...081506-517.jpg

Poor nutrition:

Michael Phelps - despite eating a lot of food, his nutrient deficient diet has been widely publicized as containing a lot of pasta and pizza and sugar resulting in a narrow palate, ears that stick out and narrowed face.
http://www.mediabistro.com/agencyspy...d_3p.widec.jpg

also Freddie Highmore, another good example of diminished facial development
http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/0/e/...passprem18.jpg

Many people have various degrees of faces that have not fully developed. I do... I have a wide face but my palate and mouth is very narrow and my chin is slightly weak. Neither my parents or all my grandparents have this at all, all have/had perfect wide palates and very straight teeth. I needed braces... badly!

My son will be going in for an ortho consult and some measuring with our Weston Price style dentist. His bite and wrist bones will be measured to track his growth. Will learn more about it and post!

We may be doing palate expansion if need be rather than braces. We've had a lot of success expanding his palate with a traditional diet as I have documented with pictures through the years, but he could still require some help as he grows due to where we started at birth (heart shaped face and more narrow palate than genetics intended). His adult bottom teeth have straightened since coming in and his palate has widened.
Do you know at what age is too late to expand the palate through nutrition? DS just turned 7 and just cut his first permanent tooth. Our dentist said that age 7 is the recommended age for the first ortho consult. She didn't explain why and at the time I didn't think the ask. Is it because by then everything is pretty much determined and the ortho knows exactly what he will be dealing with or it is because there is still time to take action that can alleviate the need for much future work?
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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Do you know at what age is too late to expand the palate through nutrition? DS just turned 7 and just cut his first permanent tooth. Our dentist said that age 7 is the recommended age for the first ortho consult. She didn't explain why and at the time I didn't think the ask. Is it because by then everything is pretty much determined and the ortho knows exactly what he will be dealing with or it is because there is still time to take action that can alleviate the need for much future work?
That is certainly the question. Since there is not much knowledge about this, there is not much evidence. Francis Pottenger is the only one that has done experiments showing benefits and I don't think they are published. I have asked the Price-Pottenger Foundation a long time ago for this info. and they have said it is not a priority. Given that we are dealing with kids who could benefit from nutritional intervention that seems ridiculous to me. But in any case, reports are he did see remarkable improvement as did Dr. Price with the case studies on bone growth in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration but they did not specifically pertain to palate expansion.

All I can tell you is that from age 2 to age 5 I have noticed and recorded improvement of palate expansion in my DS with diet:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...312&highlight=
(I gotta get his recent pic up there... his top 2 teeth have been very slow in coming in, probably due to his having high dose steriods b/c of croup, sigh.)

I assume the age when they stop growing is when its too late. Just thinking logically the face and body grows a huge amount through the spurt of puberty. I would assume this is the most important time to prepare for.
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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I assume the age when they stop growing is when its too late. Just thinking logically the face and body grows a huge amount through the spurt of puberty. I would assume this is the most important time to prepare for.
I've thought the same thing, that there's a lot of potential in that puberty growth spurt, so working on deficiencies in the years beforehand and then focusing extra hard during those fast growing times.

You know those people who you can barely recognize in pictures from childhood to adolescence/adults? I wonder if this is what's going on, a big delta between the nutrients they needed and what they were getting. I mean--you'd hope it's the opposite sometimes, a huge boost in nutrition that means better facial growth, but that seems less likely in our society.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:45 AM
 
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That is certainly the question. Since there is not much knowledge about this, there is not much evidence. Francis Pottenger is the only one that has done experiments showing benefits and I don't think they are published. I have asked the Price-Pottenger Foundation a long time ago for this info. and they have said it is not a priority. Given that we are dealing with kids who could benefit from nutritional intervention that seems ridiculous to me. But in any case, reports are he did see remarkable improvement as did Dr. Price with the case studies on bone growth in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration but they did not specifically pertain to palate expansion.

I assume the age when they stop growing is when its too late. Just thinking logically the face and body grows a huge amount through the spurt of puberty. I would assume this is the most important time to prepare for.
I found this online--apparently it is from Chapter 10 of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration which is Price's studies in Australia. The bolding is mine.

In selecting the individuals in the various groups special effort was made to include children between the ages of ten and sixteen years in order to have an opportunity to observe and record the condition of the dental arches after the permanent teeth had erupted. This was necessary because the deciduous dentition or first set of teeth may be in normal position in the arches with a correct relationship between the arches, and the permanent dentition show marked irregularity. The shape of the dental arches of the infant at birth and the teeth that are to take their place in the arches have considerable of their calcification at birth. The development of the adult face, however, does not occur until the permanent teeth have erupted. The general shape or pattern is largely influenced by the position and direction of the eruption of the permanent teeth. These studies, accordingly, have included a careful, detailed record of the shape of the dental arch of each individual.
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so loving this discussion! I don't have time to read every path you've sent me down tonight, but I really appreciate all of this. I know my husband will be anxious to read more about it, too.

Awesome! Keep it coming and thanks to all.

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Old 01-25-2010, 06:20 AM
 
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i just want to give my personal experience

i had tons of work done and though i hated it at times im really glad i did it.
i had a super small top jaw, a HUGE over bight and it actually cause a speech defect!
i had what im guessing you are all calling a palette expander at 7ish
braces from 7ish till i think 13 and was really good until my wisdom teeth started coming in and i did not have the funds to take care of it right away. i ended up getting full braces back on because the fast crowding that my wisdom teeth caused, then caused me to loose a from tooth from bone stress. wish i took care of it right away.
other than that mess up from my wisdom teeth, things stayed pretty good, slight shifting, and my sister that did not have impacted wisdom teeth, her corrected teeth never moved a inch


anyway here are my observations of my whole ordeal

• being a kid teased about braces actually makes you part of the crowd, so many other kids had them when i did, i actually remember kinda showing off my headgear even while i "complained" it was actually harder once i was older and starting to think of boys or even later in my mid 20's when i actually got to kiss boys!!
kids will always be teased, not having braces does not save them from that, better to teach them to rise above it.

• the perfect teeth i finally have are a pride and joy of mine, i get complemented on them a lot and would not minimize a great smile in the way it makes someone feel, no matter how much we hate strict conventions of beauty

• as a kid braces hurt a lot less and move a lot smoother and faster. even if you need a "touch up" as a adult, getting all you can done in your preteen years i believe gets you your best and less annoying outcome.

• the tech of braces have really come so far since i was in them (im 35 now) a lot of the issues with cavities and hassles are soo much better,
and going the extra mile to get your kid the best kind and the fun colors will help them with overcoming all the hassles.

• while doing the palate expansion, it was very painful, but it also was really good for me, my mom taught me visualization and a form of meditation to deal with it. i was 7 and it was wonderful! i use that very same technique to this day and with amazing results, i can even hear her voice and the nice smells of the rug in the living-room i would lay on. i have thanked her many times for this. i do not have kids yet, but when i do experience birth i'm sure the very same visualization with be there for me.




so i would do it, and probably do it all at the best ages. i would also make sure to do some special things with my kid on those days that they are in pain to let them know you care and understand.

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Old 01-26-2010, 05:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Adorkable, thank you for your reply. Your situation sounds atypical in that if was creating a speech problem and it required the advanced orthodontics of using a headgear. . . I'm asking more about the seeming evolution of "braces for every kid, because pretty much everyone's teeth a kind of crooked to varying degrees".

I guess if I had gone through as rigorous and painful an orthodontia experience as you did, it might well contribute to me looking at the end result as my "pride and joy".

Also, I'll just touch on the point that you and others mentioned about the irrelevance of kids being teased about braces because kids are teased about something - anything! Since this has been mentioned in several replies, I'm wondering if people are attributing more weight than I had intended to give that comment in my original post:

I mentioned potential teasing and other pitfalls of living with orthodontic apparatuses simply to contrast with my observation of society's fixation with perfectly straight teeth. Most of the mental anguish that my appliances caused me (as an elementary-aged child) was not because of teasing from others; it was the self-induced result of how stupid and clumsy and insignificant and shy I felt wearing them.

Adorkable, thank you for mentioning that your experience with the palate expanders was "very painful". I don't know a lot about them (Or is this just a "new-fangled" name for "appliances"?)

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Old 01-26-2010, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my! I just Googled images of palate expanders.

Now, I realize that my initial gut reaction is far from scientific or rational. . . But all I could think of was forceps! (While they can be useful in very rare circumstances in a birth, they certainly shouldn't be used frequently and can cause serious problems).

The palate expanders just look very stressful and, frankly, like some sort of antiquated technology that I might expect to see in a dental museum while we all rolled our eyes at the inferior methods of the past! Yikes!

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Old 01-26-2010, 06:02 AM
 
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i have been told that the palate expanders are better now, i had the kind that you turn with a key, they have constant pressure ones that some say are easier.

mind you i did not look that bad, they actually didn't know that the overbite caused my speech issue (could not say my R's) and from what i have seen, and i saw a lot when i went back in my 20's i was pretty middle of the road.

all that being said, i do feel that straight properly space teeth are easier to eat with and keep clean and i think it is actually a small hassle that gets us a great thing that we can give our kids.

i do understand your frustration about it being a given for the slightest thing

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Old 01-26-2010, 06:07 AM
 
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i will say that the pallet expander no matter how bad, if needed are really needed. if i had not done that i would be in trouble now, that was the only thing that was non negotiable. and it is nothing that cant be lived thru, like i said i think it actually taught me something really positive about getting thru my troubles.

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Old 01-26-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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Just adding my own experience...

I had braces, as did the majority of my peers, in the first two years of high school. Though they were extremely common, practically a rite of passage in my area, I was vehemently opposed to getting them and was eventually forced into it by my parents because of an overbite diagnosed by a dentist. They were, of course, extremely expensive. I resented them and the difficulty they caused me in caring for my teeth. After 2 years I got them off and graduated to a retainer, which I wore for all of 3 months before taking it in and out of my mouth every time I wanted to eat began to seem like a ridiculous and embarassing unnecessity, so I stopped. My top teeth (which were never really crooked in the first place) remained straight, and my bottom teeth have slowly become slightly crooked (one of them slightly overlaps the other) as they were before braces. I later also had all of my wisdom teeth out, at the recommendation of another dentist (not that I had any choice in the matter, as I was still a minor at that point). I am not sure if the wisdom tooth removal was necessary or not, but I am almost sure that the braces were not. I never had any trouble eating or speaking before my braces, and I suspect that my facial structure would have matured in time so that I would have had less of an overbite. I still have a slight one anyway.

My sister, on the other hand, did not require braces according to the dentist because she had no bite problems. However, she opted to get them anyway as her teeth were rather crooked. So apparently the crooked teeth were not considered a functional problem, at least by this dentist.

I am even more skeptical of the necessity of braces for the great majority of people who get them because I now live in a country where only a minority of children/teenagers get them, and the healthcare here is very good. That tells me that braces are overprescribed in the US. This country also happens to have less of a fixation with physical perfection: tooth whitening and cosmetic surgery are considerably less popular, for example. Although I don't doubt that orthodontry can help some people with serious mouth structure problems, I think for the most part it's really not necessary apart from cosmetic value.

That's just my two cents, of course, and I can't cite any studies to back up my opinion. This has just been my experience. If my child were deemed to need braces, etc., I would probably get a second and third opinion, especially if I were living in the states.

ETA: I don't know if my sister developed cavities after having braces, but I developed several "almost cavities" between my teeth during that time and I wouldn't be surprised if they were at least partially due to the difficulty I had in flossing properly with the braces.

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Old 01-26-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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I've got a kid with a nice palate and lots of teeth space, permanents coming in well, etc. I've got another with a tiny jaw/palate and I know he doesn't have enough room for permanent teeth. His whole head 5% on the growth scale (in proportion to his body) so I suppose his mouth is proportional to that. But he's got my large teeth and I am seriously looking into palate expansion. Every dentist we've seen looks at kid A and comments on how great his teeth are/jaw/spacing. Then they look at kid B and go "oh". He's not got crooked teeth but there is simply no room for the size of permanent teeth. I don't know how I got two different children palate wise with the same pregnancy (in fact, my small palate kid was the healthy one and his brother was IUGR w/ a failing placenta) and post birth diet. I don't know...


But my part in chiming in w/this is that I had no orthodontia work as a child and nice looking teeth (crowding on the bottom front but you can't see it when I smile). But my jaw position is such that my overall breathing (sleep and awake) and swallow was being affected. That had broad ranging effects on my health. I'm trying to think of the name of the dr. who works in this area (that breathing/swallow affects the entire body) but I believe it. I've got an appliance now that I wear and I belly breath, swallow completely and correctly, don't have upper airway resistance/apnea when I sleep, and on. I have seen huge effects on my body. The theory is partly my nervous system isn't in overdrive trying to stay oxygenated. I'm not explaining this well at all and I'm not yet sure how it applies to orthodontia work. I just know that the mouth effects everything because of the breathing component. I plan to look into palate expansion for son (following in my footsteps jaw wise and w/the related complications I'm sure).

I know someone who had significant work done when he was young to correct an underbite. He had teeth removed, jaw repositioned, etc. All that compromised his swallow/breath in a way that was probably worse than mine. So I don't think this is a simple matter/choice and I think work could have either positive or negative effects.

I don't feel the social impacts of crooked teeth/severe over or underbites is any small thing. I would/will correct in that case w/my child. I also think the difficulty in cleaning of very crooked teeth has potentially serious health impacts.

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Old 01-26-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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I've got a kid with a nice palate and lots of teeth space, permanents coming in well, etc. I've got another with a tiny jaw/palate and I know he doesn't have enough room for permanent teeth. His whole head 5% on the growth scale (in proportion to his body) so I suppose his mouth is proportional to that. But he's got my large teeth and I am seriously looking into palate expansion. Every dentist we've seen looks at kid A and comments on how great his teeth are/jaw/spacing. Then they look at kid B and go "oh". He's not got crooked teeth but there is simply no room for the size of permanent teeth. I don't know how I got two different children palate wise with the same pregnancy (in fact, my small palate kid was the healthy one and his brother was IUGR w/ a failing placenta) and post birth diet. I don't know...
That's really interesting. I see a very different pattern of palate/jaw issues with my two kids, and our underlying issues are the same, my health started its downhill slide when I was about 11 or 12, but I definitely see a nutritional impact in both. The _way_ it's different follows our genetics very closely, DD is a carbon copy of DH and DS is a copy of me. All of the manifestations of my health issues are different between the two kids because DH and I are susceptible to such opposite problems. Does anything like that match up with your kids, since they're fraternal twins? Maybe my family is an outlier in that the kids each so closely take after one parent, not a lot of mix-and-match health-wise.

The breathing/apnea type stuff, I've read it suggested that it's related to high, arched palates, is that what you meant? Plus something else, too, since my palate is high and arched and I don't have the breathing/snoring type issues my DH does. I'm hoping that CST, which I hope to start more regularly this year, will help draw down the kids' palates.

I think I've read of a different approach to palate expansion, I wish I remembered more. Was it called orthotropics? I found a website about that, but I'm not sure if that's what I was thinking of or not.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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I also wonder about a “partial” approach. Orthodontia always seems to be a whole-hog quest for the most perfect result possible. What about modest extractions to relieve some crowding, but then just let the teeth come in without palate re-shaping or straightening of teeth and re-alignment of bites?
This is what I had done as a child. Teeth (molars? baby teeth, I'm sure) removed around age 7, on at least 2 occasions, to make room for permanent teeth. No braces. Very straight teeth; new dentists who work on my mouth are surprised that I never had orthodonture.

Also had wisdom teeth pulled at age 19.

LOVING this topic. DS has a significant underbite. Am very interested in the nutritional aspect as well as the breathing/structural aspect.

And a side effect of this interest is that I cannot stop making observations of small children's chins and lower jaws. Seems like they are all very small and receding. My sister says this is normal. I think everyone around here looks like they have a nutritional deficiency!

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Old 01-27-2010, 12:41 AM
 
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Up until last month I was the assistant in the library for an association for orthodontists. I learned more about it than I ever cared to! lol I made some notes to myself as I read this thread. Sorry I'm not addressing individuals

There are not much in the way of practice guidelines for individual orthodontists. They are free to individually approach how they will treat in their own way. This is why you can get 10 different solutions to a problem by talking to 10 different orthodontists. The extraction vs non-extraction of permanent teeth debate has raged since the origins of orthodontics over 100 year ago.

The assocation came up with not later than age 7 for seeing an orthodontists. One of the biggest reasons is that by then you can tell if any behavioral things such as thumb or pacifier sucking has changed more than the baby teeth. You can also detect major jaw alingment problems by then. Some orthodontist won't charge for this initial visit.

I read a book about anthropology of the teeth (for fun). Ancient teeth were much straighter than you'd expect. This is because they ate a much more fibrous diet. Lots of chewing and wear on the teeth. Much of this wear was between the teeth as well. Part of why are teeth continue to move throughout our lives is to compensate for this wear (even if we're eating less challenging modern food) and why it isn't such a big deal to grind a little out between teeth for better alignment (It's called interproximal reduction)

The orthodontic association's website for consumers is www.braces.org
It used to be a lot more informative but they changed it last summer to be prettier. It still has some useful stuff including an orthodontist locator that includes where they got their degree and if they have additional certifications.

I'm going to hit submit reply before a cat or kid makes me lose this book. I've only been gone a few months (maternity leave) and I'm already losing my ortho vocab.
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:05 AM
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Look at:

http://www.damonbraces.com/

and do a search to see if there is a Damon Ortho in your area. In most cases they can straighten teeth WITHOUT extractions or palate expanders. Yes, it's still braces, but a much "kinder, gentler" form!!!

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