By promoting proper facial development, Healthy Start can ensure your child’s dental arches expand naturally, without the need for extractions or other aggressive interventions. And because the system starts early (as young as age 2), it is able to work passively during sleep or during brief periods while awake. There is also a brief period of active wear for the device that stimulates development of the teeth and jaw.
Another benefit over braces is that Healthy Start uses removable appliances so that your child won’t have added difficulty cleaning their teeth, and won’t have any diet restrictions. It’s hard enough finding healthy food for your child to eat–you don’t need additional restrictions to make it harder.
But perhaps the most important benefit is that Healthy Start can address sleep disordered breathing and its numerous symptoms so your child can enjoy a healthier, happier childhood.
Listen to Dr. Firouzian discussing sleep disordered breathing and how it can be treated from his interview with WOSU Columbus.
Dangers of Sleep Disordered Breathing
Sleep disordered breathing is when your child is unable to breathe properly during sleep, manifesting as snoring, constant waking, or sleepiness and low energy during the day. For decades we have been studying the impact of sleep disordered breathing conditions like sleep apnea on adults, but it’s only recently that we’ve come to appreciate the impact it can have on children. Some of the health effects associated with sleep disordered breathing include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Moodiness or depression
- Difficulty in school
- Chronic allergies
- Frequent illness
- Stunted growth
- Restless sleep
- Swollen adenoids and/or tonsils
- Dark circles under the eyes
The body performs many vital functions during sleep, including critical mental organization and developmental tasks. This is especially important for children, whose brains and bodies are working hard on growth.
Many children with learning difficulties or behavioral problems in school are actually suffering from sleep problems. Because their brains aren’t given the time to rest, recover, and process information, they have memory problems. Because they aren’t getting restorative sleep, they can be moody or aggressive. Because they are constantly tired, they may have difficulty focusing, and especially maintaining focus through a day’s lessons.
Many of these children may be prescribed medications to help with these problems, but what they really need is just better sleep.
These sleep problems might manifest as bed wetting, nightmares, or restless sleep, but the root cause is difficulty breathing.
Your child’s health can be impacted by the lack of sleep, too. Your child may experience chronic allergy symptoms, frequent illness, may have swollen adenoids or tonsils, and you can tell they’re not getting enough sleep because of the dark circles under their eyes. And your child may start to fall off their developmental growth targets, too.
How Healthy Start Works
Healthy Start offers an alternative to traditional orthodontics. Because traditional orthodontics waits until your child’s teeth have emerged, it needs to use brutal force to wrench the teeth into place. It’s also lost a lot of opportunity to influence the development of the jaw, so jaw change options may be limited, and will also likely require significant force. Force translates to discomfort and requires a complex support system to deliver, including brackets, wires, headgear, and more.
Instead, Healthy Start uses soft plastic aligners that can be comfortably worn during sleep. Because the system starts as soon as possible, it can accomplish the same or better results with less force. Your child will start out wearing these aligners at night if they can. At first, it may take some getting used to, and bad habits like mouth breathing can interfere. Once the mouth breathing is no longer a problem and your child adapts to having “pillows on their teeth”, the system is very easy to wear all night.
There is also a short period of active wear during the day, which utilizes tongue exercises and jaw motions to stimulate the growth and development of the jaw.
Are you ready to take advantage of this exciting new alternative to braces? Please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment at the Center for Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Columbus, OH. And look forward to restful nights and happier, healthier days for your child!