Developmental Orthodontics

Developmental Orthodontics aims to correct any skeletal and dental discrepancy or habits during the developmental stage of a child to ensure that the child develops a full set of dental arches with straight teeth and a good bite.  Quite often, conventional braces can be avoided if the malocclusion (“bad bite”) is diagnosed and treated early.

The biggest point of Developmental Orthodontics is to get the child's teeth straightened before it becomes a problem for their adult life.  Dr. David Merritt implements early preventative treatment so that when the permanent teeth are in that the teeth and jaws are in alignment.  He is not only preparing your child's teeth for the future, he is changing a growth pattern.

Dr. Merritt and his staff are trained to identify subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. The advantage for patients of early detection of orthodontic problems is that some problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended that all children get an orthodontic check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. While your child's teeth may appear aligned and straight to you, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.

Interceptive Orthodontics

Interceptive Orthodontics is an extension of preventive orthodontics that may include minor local tooth movement in an otherwise normally developing situation.

There are several forms of Interceptive Orthodontics used to control placement and growth of the teeth.

Braces:  Braces use metal connectors attached to the teeth to gradually create a straighter alignment. Braces are the most prominent orthodontic treatment, but they’re far from the only one. They’re often regarded as one of the most serious forms of orthodontic care, and they’re sometimes used as a last resort when other methods don’t work out.

Space maintainers:  When one of a child’s baby teeth falls out, it leaves a space that may not be filled for some time. In some cases, crowding elsewhere in the jaw may cause that space to be filled by teeth that do not belong there. If you see this happening in your child, see your orthodontist Calgary about implanting a simple device to keep the other teeth from moving into that space.

Thumb sucking appliances:  Thumb and finger sucking are among the top causes for orthodontic problems in young children. These habits can lead to misaligned bites as well as abnormal spacing between the top and bottom teeth. If you can’t seek to get your child to stop sucking his or her thumb or fingers, your orthodontist Calgary may be able to install a temporary in-mouth appliance that will help break this habit.

Retainers:  For mild misalignments of the jaw, retainers may be used to apply gentle pressure to the teeth when the individual is sleeping. They are also used following a braces treatment to help make sure the teeth stay where they should be.

Dental headgear:  Like braces, a dental headgear uses the child’s natural growth to help force the jaw into a different alignment. The headgear attaches to the face and jaw and has an attached implement that goes into the mouth. These elements work together to force the jaw to stay in position. These days, few orthodontists use the type of headgear that is made to be worn out and about, as it can be intrusive to a child’s learning at school. Most are designed to be worn only when the child is sleeping.

Cross-bite appliances:  When the back upper teeth fit inside of the lower ones, this is known as a crossbite. This misalignment can be repaired by using an appliance designed to expand the upper arch of the jaw, which will spread the upper teeth and create a more normal alignment.

Crossbite Before Treatment Crossbite After Treatment