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Interceptive Orthodontics (Ages 6-12)

Interceptive Jaw Development Orthodontics for children ages 6-11 in Louisville, CO

orthodontic bracesDo you want your child to feel confident in his or her appearance, and grow into an adult with straight teeth, a comfortable mouth, and healthy breathing and sleep habits? At ages 6-11, jaw development is at a crucial state that will affect all those factors for the rest of the child’s life. Dr. Tracey Hughes urges parents in the Louisville, CO area to have children evaluated for Jaw Development Orthodontics at this age.

What is RAGGA?

Removable Anterior Guided Growth Appliance (RAGGA) is a non-invasive, safe orthopedic growth guidance appliance that fits into the mouth like a simple upper retainer. RAGGA is used for children ages 6 to 11 to develop jaws and mid-face to their full genetic potential, without risky and expensive jaw surgery.

Does your child need an orthopedic growth evaluation?

Watch for these signs:

  • Problems with teeth alignment – crowded or crooked teeth
  • Bite problems
  • Teeth don’t meet correctly
  • Underbite or overbite
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Frequent headaches
  • Snoring
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Short attention span/easily distracted

How Louisville, CO kids ages 6-11 benefit from Jaw Developmental Orthodontics

RAGGA orthopedic growth guidance provides many benefits over traditional orthodontic techniques. These benefits include:

  • Remodeling of the jaws during the growth phase
  • Alignment of teeth and functional bite within the ideal developed jaw position
  • Improved facial structures
  • Improved overall posture

Because of the profound forward growth of the upper and lower jaws, RAGGA decreases and in most cases eliminates the potential for TMJ problems and airway issues in children. A third of children using RAGGA will not need further orthodontic treatment. The other 2/3 of RAGGA patients will need ControlledArch braces later during adolescence, to straighten and align the teeth in the space provided by orthopedic growth. However, the duration will be much shorter – an estimated 6 to 12 months in braces – than in children who do not have orthopedic growth guidance with RAGGA prior to braces.

How does RAGGA orthopedic growth guidance using work?

RAGGA is a simple, retainer-like appliance that is worn on the roof of the mouth. The appliance is specifically designed to put pressure on a specific spot on the upper palate that stimulates a nerve to turn on bone growth centers behind the upper jaw. RAGGA also has a small dimple that the child pushes on with the tongue as a myofunctional exercise (an exercise that trains correct tongue position) and to apply pressure to this very important spot. This stimulation creates a robust response of bone growth resulting in three-dimensional remodeling of the entire mid-face forward, including the nasal sinus and upper jaw. This type of growth stimulation is unlike any other orthodontic appliance available.

Additionally, specially designed bite pads on the appliance allow the lower jaw to follow the forward growth, stimulating the lower jaw to also remodel and grow into the genetically intended physiologic position. The result is beautiful development of a child’s face, upper and lower jaws, and more than adequate space for the teeth to fully erupt.

For future orthodontic treatment to be successful, jaws must first be developed and positioned in the correct location in the face. Only after that should the teeth be then aligned and straightened.

Why are my child’s teeth crowded?

Many people think crowded teeth are a genetic trait. This, however, is false. Also, it is not the result of large teeth. Rather, it is caused by lack of forward growth of the nasomaxillary complex, including the mid-face and upper jaw. Develop the nasomaxillary complex to the ideal size and physiologic position using orthopedic growth guidance, and teeth align beautifully with ControlledArch braces.

What is the best age for my child to begin orthodontic treatment?

Many people think it is not necessary to begin thinking about orthodontics until all the baby teeth have fallen out in pre-adolescent years. However, best results are obtained by treating children earlier, between the ages of 6 and 8 years old. The face and jaws are done growing by age 12. Trying to straighten teeth in an underdeveloped jaw can lead to undesirable compromises in function, esthetics, airway, posture, and compressed temporomandibular joints.

Dr. Hughes’ philosophy is to harness a child’s growth, ideally between the age of 6 and 10, to maximize the full forward face growth potential. A child will spend much less time in braces later by starting young and using a non-invasive, safe, simple orthopedic growth appliance. RAGGA treatment in children of this age reduces future time in braces to about 6 to 12 months – far less than the two years that we typically see in adolescents who have not had orthopedic growth guidance.

Does RAGGA expand the upper jaw?

RAGGA is a growth appliance that stimulates the upper jaw and mid-face to develop three-dimensionally. This orthopedic jaw appliance stimulates remodeling of the entire mid-face and maxilla (upper jaw). If expansion is needed to correct narrowness of the dental arches after RAGGA treatment, then FRLA (fixed-removable lingual arch) expansion wires are placed on the upper and lower dental arches during the ControlledArch braces phase.

How long is the RAGGA growth appliance typically worn?

As a functional appliance, RAGGA is worn 24/7. It is taken out of the mouth only long enough for the child to brush their teeth and clean the appliance. The child must eat and sleep with RAGGA in for optimum results. With this level of compliance, the growth phase of treatment time is typically just 8 to 10 months.

Will my child need braces after RAGGA?

Thirty percent of kids wearing RAGGA will not need braces during their early teen years. For the 70 percent who will need braces after RAGGA, treatment duration will be much shorter due to space created by orthopedic growth guidance. This makes ControlledArch protractive braces very efficient.

I was told my child will need teeth extracted for braces.  Should I consider having my child’s permanent teeth extracted?

NO! Please do not have any adult teeth removed to make space for orthodontic adjustment of teeth position. Extraction of bicuspid teeth, followed by retraction orthodontics, will compromise your child’s airway development, compress TMJs, and affect facial profile significantly. Children with permanent teeth extraction have less room in their mouth for their tongue, are predisposed to the collapse of the upper airway during sleep, and most often develop obstructive sleep apnea at a later age. With advancements in orthopedic growth guidance using RAGGA, adequate space is created for all the permanent teeth. Dr. Hughes makes every effort to avoid extractions for braces, which is usually not necessary in her clinical opinion.

My child is developing an underbite, will surgery be necessary to correct it?

Jaw surgery, although an excellent treatment option in extreme, complex situations, is not necessary in most cases to correct underbite in adolescents (or adults for that matter).  With jaw development orthodontic treatments using RAGGA, the growth appliance develops the mid-face and upper jaw forward to a corrected posture in relation to the lower jaw. If you have been told your child needs jaw surgery, please seek Dr. Hughes’ evaluation. She is trained in use of non-surgical orthopedic growth guidance appliances and ControlledArch braces to correct underbites.

My child is developing an overbite, will surgery be necessary?

Jaw surgery, in most cases, is not needed to correct an overbite either. An orthopedic growth guidance approach allows the lower jaw to grow in two ways. Growth centers in both the condyles and ramus are activated to stimulate bone growth in underdeveloped lower jaws. Additionally, the flat bite pads on the appliance allow the lower jaw to move forward into its more ideal, physiologic position. If you have been told your child needs jaw surgery, please talk with Dr. Hughes first.

Do children experience TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) symptoms and OSA (obstructive sleep apnea)?

Absolutely! Many children with underdeveloped jaws and poor bite experience TMD symptoms such as headaches, jaw clicking and pain, ringing in ears, and neck tension – just like adults.

Dr. Hughes’ own daughter developed bite related headaches at the age of 7. Orthopedic growth guidance eliminated her headaches and TMD symptoms in the first month of treatment. Plus, it enlarged her upper airway, non-surgically.

Underdeveloped jaws and enlarged adenoids and tonsils contribute to constriction of the upper airway and obstructive sleep apnea in children. Getting the best sleep quality and quantity is now recognized as one of the top factors in long term health and disease prevention. Correcting the root cause of the problem with a jaw growth appliance and ControlledArch braces can prevent a lifetime of TMD suffering and OSA.

Are you in the Boulder, Broomfield, Lafayette, Louisville, CO area? Find out if your child can benefit from developmental orthodontics at ages 6-10. Call Boulder Valley Dental Center at 303-732-5388 to schedule an examination and consultation with Dr. Hughes.