A orthodontic treatment is very often recommended to children because it allows the correction of dental and skeletal anomalies before the end of growth. This allows us to solve problems with the position of the teeth and jaw.
Some children have slower growth in the lower jaw than in the upper jaw, or vice versa. To solve this problem, a growth activator can be introduced in addition to orthodontic treatment.
What is a growth promoter in orthodontics?
A growth promoter is a dental appliance that stimulates the growth of the mandible (lower jaw). It is a removable appliance that children must wear for several hours a day.
The activator in orthodontics is intended for patients whose jaws (upper or lower) are too small or too far back in relation to the opposite jaw. A growth activator allows to fill this gap in a few months.
The use of a growth promoter is part of theinterceptive orthodonticsThis is the one started between the ages of 6 and 9.
What are the main types of activators in orthodontics?
Growth promoters are temporary and removable devices. They are usually in the form of a false palate, into which the teeth fit, like a mouth guard.
There are different types of growth promoters which are :
- The lingual arch which is placed on the internal face of the teeth,
- The corrective forsus that accelerates growth with springs,
- The plates or false palates which allow to stabilize the growth.
The lingual arch
The lingual arch allows to maintain the space between the teeth in case of early loss of milk teeth. Placed on the inside of the teeth, this appliance allows the length of the lower arch to be maintained as well as the transverse inter-molar diameter.
This type of appliance must be worn until the permanent teeth erupt.
Spring correction (Forsus)
This type of correction is based on a spring system that corrects the position of the lower jaw when it is too far back in relation to the upper jaw.
Used in conjunction with braces over a period of 6 to 12 months, the Forsus guides mandibular growth. Therefore, the Forsus is used during the active growth period, which is generally between the ages of 12 and 15.
This correction promotes:
- The relationship between the two jaws,
- Dental and articular stability,
- The aesthetic harmony of the face.
One of the advantages of the Forsus is that they do not alter the opening of the mouth, chewing and diction. However, a short adaptation period of 3 to 4 days is necessary.
The plates or false palate
Palatal plates, also known as "false palates", are a removable device that allows the upper jaw to be moved apart and possibly realign the front teeth.
The false palate is composed of a small resin or metal plate held to the palate by hooks and springs that are themselves attached to the teeth. This allows pressure to be exerted on the jaw in order to gradually move it apart.
An appointment with the orthodontist is necessary once or twice a week to gradually increase the pressure.
The age at which braces can be considered is usually around 6 or 7 years old.
The false palate is worn several hours a day or continuously, day and night, as recommended by the pedodontist.
Information and practical advice for wearing an activator in orthodontics
It is advisable to respect some dietary and hygiene rules in order to optimize the effects of the treatment and avoid breaking the device.
From the point of view of nutrition and regardless of the type of device, hard and sticky foods should be avoided such as:
- Chewing gum
- The candy
- The nougat
These foods can deform or even break all or part of the device.
Brushing of teeth
It is recommended to brush for three minutes and after each meal, insisting on the back teeth for Forsus springs and on rinsing.
Discomfort and pain
Correction with the lingual arch
After the appliance is placed, the patient may feel a slight pain in the front teeth (the incisors). This lasts only one or two days, during which time it is best to eat soft foods and take painkillers.
Under no circumstances should the appliance be pulled or adjusted to relieve these discomforts or pains. If the discomfort or pain persists, you should make another appointment with your pedodontist.
Forsus spring correction
It is common for the front of the springs to rub the inside of the cheeks. The use of orthodontic wax or cardboard triangles at night allows the cheeks to rest from the rubbing.
It is advisable not to sleep on your side, in which case the springs can exert significant pressure on the inside of the cheeks. If the discomfort is too great, the pedodontist can put on protective silicone caps.
Practice of a sport
Growth regulators are relatively fragile devices, special care must be taken with this type of solution to avoid breaking them.
It is also necessary to remove them when playing sports to avoid injury or breakage of the device in case of a fall or other impact.
When to use a growth promoter and why?
When the lower jaw is too small or too far back in relation to the upper jaw, this can cause problems for the proper development of the child's teeth.
A recessed lower jaw increases the risk of fractures of the upper teeth. In addition, the permanent teeth do not position themselves correctly when the mouth is closed.
The dentist then uses a growth promoter to correct and reduce this discrepancy. This type of orthodontic treatment can only be used on children, like other orthodontic interception treatmentsThey are still growing.
Note, however, that if your child is a mouth-breather Apart from any cold or allergic episode, the pedodontist should be consulted before any interceptive orthodontic treatment.
How does a growth promoter work in orthodontics?
The growth promoter will stimulate the growth of the lower jaw so that the gap with the upper jaw is reduced. The appliance keeps the mandible in a forward position.
In order for the growth of the lower jaw to resume, it is essential to wear the appliance at least 14 hours a day. Below this number of hours, no progress will be possible.
When used correctly, a growth activator can gain one millimeter per month, and reduce the gap between the jaws within a few months.
How to maintain your growth activator?
Every morning, it is essential to clean the device with a toothbrush.
During the day, the activator can be soaked in a glass with mouthwash liquid or a specific cleaning tablet or with white vinegar mixed with water.
It is strongly discouraged to soak the activator in hot water, as resin is a brittle material.
For spring correction (Forsus), it is advisable to brush around the springs after each meal and to insist on rinsing.