No parent wants to talk braces. They’re expensive, they require a ton of check-ups, and they’re not exactly fun for your child. Of course, the alternative isn’t so great either: misaligned teeth that get more misaligned with age. Over time, a crooked smile can end up causing dangerous and painful disorders like TMJ/TMD and sleep apnea. You want your children to be happy and healthy when they grow-up, but the idea of investing in braces in the next few years seems near impossible.
A few years ago, there weren’t too many solutions to the problem above. Parents who wanted their children to have perfect smiles had to wait (until their children were old enough) and purchase braces. Even if the parents and the family’s dentist could tell that the child would have severe misalignment (which they frequently can).
Luckily, in recent times, a company called HealthyStart came out with a revolutionary device that dramatically changes how dentists can approach pediatric orthodontics. The HealthyStart device is actually a series of devices that help guide your child’s teeth and jaw into the correct position from an early age. Instead of correcting misalignment after it’s happened, HealthyStart keeps misalignment from ever happening.
The HealthyStart devices have a similar look to a traditional retainer. HealthyStart makes them out of a soft but durable plastic that fits over the upper and lower teeth in the mouth. They’re custom-made so your child is guaranteed a comfortable, perfect fit.
The first thing we do when a parent is interested in getting their child into HealthyStart is schedule a complimentary consultation. During the consultation, our HealthyStart expert, Dr. Bobbi Stanley, will take a look at your child’s teeth, mouth, and airway. That last one may seem a little random but a major symptom of severe dental and jaw misalignment in young children is sleep apnea. If your child is snoring or grinding their teeth at night, it’s because they aren’t getting enough air when they’re sleeping. Snoring and grinding are things a lot of parents assume are normal but can actually be quite dangerous to your child’s health.
HealthyStart was actually made to correct pediatric airway issues first. The straight teeth part is a bonus.
After the consultation, our orthodontic assistant will use an Itero scanner to quickly take a few images of your child’s mouth. We’ll send those off to HealthyStart and they’ll get to work creating the first retainer. Depending on your child’s case, they will go through a series of different retainers.
Just like braces, HealthyStart does take a few years to complete. And the younger the child is when they get started, the more effective the treatment will be. This is because the various HealthyStart devices are meant to slowly and naturally guide the teeth into the right position over time. It is not a quick-fix solution and it may take some time for your child to get used to the retainers. Children must wear the retainers at night and for at least an hour or two during the day. The more they wear them, the better the results.
The vast majority of the time, the answer to this is a resounding “yes.” However, we have had cases where a child’s misalignment was so severe they did need braces for a short period of time. In those cases, the child would’ve had to go into braces for a much longer time had they not gotten HealthyStart.
HealthyStart is considerably less expensive than traditional braces — which is one of its main pulls for parents. In our office, if a child has to go into braces after their parents already paid for HealthyStart, we only make them pay the difference between HealthyStart and braces.
Ready to get started on your child’s HealthyStart treatment? If you live in North Carolina, we’d love to see you! Give us a call at 919.460.9665 and we’ll get you set up with a consultation.