30 FOCUS - JANUARY 2019 port perry dental centre 238 Queen St. - Port Perry - 905-985-8451 www.iluvmydentist.com Dr. J. Cottrell Dr. J. Hardy Dr. M. Dhillon Dr. C. Banfield Dr. Pearson Dr. J. Isenberg Dr. Richardson Your Hometown Dental Professionals facebook.com/ 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards PORTPERRYSTAR You’re told to wait for most of the permanent teeth to be in before seeing an orthodon- tist. Then you’re told that’s too late, it should be when there are still plenty of baby teeth present. Someone else says it should be somewhere in between. How confusing! So which is it? It turns out it’s not so much about the teeth as it is about timing and growth. There are enormous advantages to getting checked and starting corrective treatment very early on, even as early as five to six years of age. It is estimated that up to 85% of children have crowded teeth and incorrectly developing jaws and dental arches, problems that can be iden- tified very early on by an airway centered orthodontist. Some of the warning signs are mouth breathing, snoring, and drool- ing at night, bedwetting, and no spaces between the baby teeth…. Because it’s not just about that pretty smile. Did you know that incorrectly develop- ing jaws and teeth could also affect face shape and features, health, athletic per- formance, brain development and even behaviour? The key determining factor is muscle function, and how muscle function af- fects growth. The muscles in question are those around our faces, mouths and airways that is involved in various func- tions like mode of breathing – nose ver- sus mouth – swallowing, lip biting, thumb sucking, pacifier use, etc. Frequency and intensity of the habit is very impor- tant, and will determine how much growth and development are affected. Also, the timing of each of these events is critical: in a growing child, the effect can be hugely significant, while in a non-grow- ing person, it would be less so. For the same reason, orthodontic work performed early can have a great impact on growth and development (read: face shape, health, athletic performance, and behaviour), whereas treatment per- formed for a non growing person is more an exercise in pushing teeth around to straighten them. Please note, though: even adults benefit hugely from having muscle function corrected. Not all early orthodontic treatment is active, or in other words involves appli- ances that, by being periodically adjust- ed, actively move teeth or reshape jaws. Some early treatment is passive and is aimed at changing oral habits and re- programming muscle function. Early airway centered orthodontic ex- ams can identify and appropriately deal with detrimental oral habits, and halt or reverse some of the potential damage. Oral habits have the potential to cause problems. Suffice to say that early iden- tification is very important, because it is not just about the pretty smile. There is much more at stake. Dr. Barbara Frackowiak is a certified ortho- dontist who has been practicing in Durham Region for the last twenty plus years. She is passionate about Airway Centered Orthodontics. More Than My Child’s Pretty Smile….. DR. BARBARA FRACKOWIAK This is the third of a series of four articles.