Remember the scene in old movies that pictured two trains hopelessly headed toward each other on the same track? We all know what the outcome will be…
As children grow up there are certain dental developmental stages that are very significant. One of those stages is the transition from deciduous (baby) teeth to a mixed dentition: a combination of deciduous and permanent teeth. During this stage, it is important to assess the space available for permanent teeth as they attempt to erupt into the mouth.
The most common space problem can occur in the front of the mouth as the incisor and cuspid teeth are coming in. With proper monitoring and treatment we can avoid the train wreck! Dental arch expansion at this stage avoids many possible negative outcomes. These negative outcomes include:
- Failure of teeth to erupt (impaction), possibly leading to surgical retrieval of tooth.
- Upper jaw constriction may result in a crossbite which leads to improper bite relationship or excessive tooth wear.
This expansion therapy is ideally performed around the age of seven to eight. It is important for children to be examined at that time to avoid these problems which can lead to more costly procedures or a less ideal final orthodontic result.
With proper timing of diagnosis and treatment, we can ensure that the train safely reaches the station. No train wrecks.