Every parent wants to do what’s best for their children. But it’s not always easy to know what that is. It’s especially hard when the true cause of many problems is hard to link to its symptoms. Did you know that ADHD, bedwetting, nightmares, aggressive behavior and other symptoms may be linked to sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in your child? Or that SDB can be related to jaw development that can contribute to crooked teeth? Fortunately, because all these problems are related, they can be addressed with a single cure: Healthy Start. Healthy Start encourages proper jaw development so your child can breathe easy and sleep well. Plus, they may be able to avoid braces completely!
The Healthy Start self assessment can give you some information to start with, but the best way to find out if it’s right for your child is to talk to a dentist in person. In Burke and surrounding areas of Virginia, please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with Dr. Pamela Marzban.
Benefits of Healthy Start
Healthy Start represents an alternative to traditional orthodontics. It’s an approach that aims to encourage proper development of the jaw to stop problems in their early stages, maybe even head some off before they begin. This approach can offer many benefits over traditional braces because it:
- Develops a beautiful smile for life
- Can eliminate the need for braces
- Costs a fraction of the cost for braces
- Is covered by most insurance
- Can improve the appearance of the face as well as the smile
- Works during sleep and a brief period of exercise–not all day wear
- No diet restrictions
- Easy to clean
- Cure sleep disordered breathing and related problems
Healthy Start is an orthodontic system that encourages the proper development of the jaw and teeth. This leads to a straighter smile without braces, and, usually, without a retainer. Because it’s a less invasive system, it’s also less expensive, costing, typically, a fraction of the price of braces. It’s covered under the same insurance plans, so you’ll likely see a significant savings in out-of-pocket costs. The Healthy Start system can be used even if your child already has crooked teeth. In that case, results typically take 2-12 months.
Because Healthy Start is focused on development of more than just teeth, it can also improve your child’s facial appearance. It can help your child develop an attractive facial profile, eliminating a weak chin or protruding upper jaw.
And unlike braces or many functional orthodontics approaches, your child doesn’t have to wear Healthy Start all day and night. Just overnight wear and then a brief period of active wear during the day. Another difference with braces and many functional orthodontics appliances is that Healthy Start appliances are removable, so there’s no diet restrictions, and all you have to do is brush and floss normally.
But perhaps the most important benefit of Healthy Start is that it can cure your child’s sleep disordered breathing.
Understanding Sleep Disordered Breathing
Sleep disordered breathing is a broad category of sleep problems that includes snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome, and sleep apnea. All of these breathing problems make it hard for your child to get good rest at night. When they aren’t getting great good sleep at night, you might see symptoms like:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Dark circles under eyes
- Difficulty waking
- Aggressive behavior
- Moodiness or depression
- Difficulties in school
- Frequent illness
- Poor growth or failure to thrive
These occur because sleep is the body’s vital rejuvenation period. When a child isn’t getting good sleep, they aren’t benefitting from the rejuvenation potential of sleep. They are tired during the day and may not want to get up, no matter how much time they’ve spent “sleeping.”
Some of the brain’s vital functions during sleep include mood and metabolic regulation. Without good sleep, children can be aggressive, moody, or may have difficulty focusing. They may also experience memory problems that can make it hard for them to achieve in school. The combination of poor academic performance and bad behavior can lead to serious problems at school.
Sleep disordered breathing may also be the chief cause of night time problems, such as bedwetting or nightmares. Because they aren’t sleeping properly, their body may not regulate urine production or control. And because they may literally be choking while asleep, it’s common to translate this sensation to a nightmare.
Because of the toll that poor sleep takes on the body, children may get sick more often than their classmates or siblings, and they may stop growing as well as they had been.
How Healthy Start Works
Healthy Start is a developmental approach to orthodontics. In traditional orthodontics, the teeth have already emerged and been incorporated into the bones, which makes them harder to move. But with Healthy Start, the goal is to expand the jaw to make room for the teeth as they emerge.
And as the jaw is being expanded, so is the airway. The roof of the mouth is, essentially, the floor of the nose. And the width of the jaw defines the width of the airway.
Healthy Start wants to begin early, before problems develop, as young as age 2. At this point, your child’s airway and jaw are primed for growth, so it only takes a small amount of force to guide them. So while traditional braces requires metal brackets and wires, Healthy Start can achieve its goal with only soft plastic aligners worn for part of the day.
In addition to overnight wear, there is a short period of active wear during the day, which includes tongue exercises. The tongue is critical to the shaping and development of the jaw, so teaching proper tongue position can make a big difference in a child’s jaw development not only during treatment, but for a lifetime.
Are you looking for solutions to some of your child’s health and behavior problems that seem to have no answer? Maybe Healthy Start is that answer you’ve been seeking.