Children Dentistry

How Orthodontics Can Help to Correct a Lisp

Some children have difficulty pronouncing specific sounds, words or letters. This is particularly the case when referring to the letters “s” and “z”. Otherwise known as a lisp, there are several reasons why this condition may present itself. 

Let us take a look at some possible causes as well as if orthodontics may be able to correct the issue at a young age.

What Might Lead to a Lisp?

Lisps can often result from a condition which causes the tongue to fail to contact the roof of the mouth when forming specific letters. Doctors cite malocclusions as the primary cause of this scenario. In other words, the teeth within the mouth do not fit together as they should. 

There are three types of malocclusions which can lead to a lisp:

  • An underbite (occurring when the bottom teeth protrude further than the top teeth).
  • An underbite (when the top set of teeth stick out further than the bottom teeth while the mouth is at rest).
  • An open bite (even when shut, the teeth within the mouth do not touch).

Common orthodontic treatments such as braces have been used to correct all of the conditions pointed out above.

What Other Factors May be Present?

Still, there can be times when a lisp is caused by other situations. One example is known as a “tongue tie”. In this case, the tissues connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth are overly tense or too short. A “tongue thrust” can likewise occur if the tongue protrudes between the teeth when the mouth is at rest. Both of these can lead to a lisp if they are not treated.

Additionally, there can simply be times when incorrect pronunciation techniques were employed when specific words were first being learned. In this situation, the expertise of a speech therapist will often come in handy. It is nonetheless wise to speak with an orthodontist so that other potential problems can be ruled out in the beginning.

Treatment is Available

The good news is that the majority of children and adults who suffer from lisps have numerous options at their disposal. The best way to determine which treatments are the most appropriate is to speak with a dentist or orthodontist. 

Our Myokids program is designed to help treat these problems early, so the child has the best chance of resolving the lisp problem quickly. If your child has a bite problem and/or a lisp, let’s discuss it. Danny the Dentist can help!

What Causes of a Child’s Crooked Teeth?

A common perception is that genetics is the primary factor in why a child develops crooked teeth. However, recent research indicates the cause may be an abnormal lip, jaw, or tongue position during rest, swallowing or speech. prolonged oral habits like thumb or finger sucking can be the root of the orthodontic problems.

Dentists refer to these as “myofunctional habits” and they can affect the natural development of the teeth and jaws. The Myobrace System was developed to treat these underlying causes in order to aid natural tooth growth and help prevent the need for orthodontics.

Incorrect Myofunctional Habits and Teeth Development

A very common habit for a child to develop is thumb sucking. Yet this is a prime example of an incorrect myofunctional habit as it can impede jaw development. 

Anything which prevents the tongue and lips from performing normally can result in tooth alignment issues and underdeveloped jaws. Further examples of incorrect myofunctional habits include:

Mouth breathing

If a child primarily breathes through their mouth, it not only means the mouth is often open, but the tongue is not in its natural position of rest. The outcome is a restriction of the correct forward growth of the surrounding muscles, with the jaws being narrower as well as developing in a downward manner. This ultimately means less space in the mouth and the potential for misaligned teeth.

Incorrect Tongue Position

When you are not chewing or talking, the tongue rests naturally in the mouth. This is key as the tongue helps form the shape of the developing jaw. 

This resting position is in the roof of the mouth, but if it is often positioned in the lower part of the mouth instead, for example as with mouth breathers, then there will not be enough space for the upper teeth to come through correctly. The lower jaw will also be forced back and downwards, affecting the shape of the face.

Reverse Swallowing

The correct forward growth of the jaw is also affected by reverse swallowing. This is when a child swallows the wrong way, with the tongue moving forward and the lips back. On average, a child swallows twice each minute, therefore when reverse swallowing, the face will not develop properly, as the muscles are being forced in the direction opposite to natural growth.

Poor Lips and Cheek Control

The lips and cheeks help with positioning the teeth and poor control of either, or poor muscle tone, makes it harder to close the lips when swallowing. This can result in teeth alignment problems.

The Myobrace System

The Myobrace system was developed to treat these underlying conditions to prevent need for braces later on in the teen years. The system involves a  removable device which is worn overnight and for up to two hours each day. 

Best suited for ages 3 to 15, our highly experienced practice specialises in this treatment. We will explain how Myobrace is a preventive pre-orthodontic treatment which aids natural teeth and bone development. 

By addressing the underlying habits which cause crooked teeth we aim to prevent your child from requiring orthodontics like braces or tooth extractions.

Ways to Help Prevent a Child’s Dental Anxiety

A visit to the dentist can lead to anxiety for some children, just as much as it can for some adults. Dental anxiety as we grow older can result in not booking regular appointments with a dentist. This can increase the risk of oral health issues not being diagnosed at an early stage when they are easier to treat. Yet there are ways to help prevent or overcome a child’s dental anxiety.

Start Them Young

Your child will tend to have their first tooth by the age of 6 months and this is when it is recommended they should first see a dentist. As well as ensuring your child’s teeth develop properly, introducing them at such an early age to a dental practice will help familiarise them with this setting. With regular appointments as they grow up, your child should become more comfortable and confident when visiting the dentist, reducing the anxiety they may originally have experienced.

Anxiety is Normal

A degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist at any age is to be expected. Therefore, your child feeling anxious prior to their appointment is normal and understandable. As a parent, you can help influence the child’s level of anxiety, so it does not become difficult for them to cope. Try to remain calm yourself, as your child could react and feed off any anxiety you display. On the whole, show understanding of their anxiety and reassure them, telling them how nice the dentist and dental nurses will be.

Find the Right Dentist

To help allay dental anxiety it is important to find a dentist in which both you and your child are comfortable. Take the time to visit a prospective practice to meet the team and look around. Both you and your child should like what you see. A child-friendly dental practice will also often have toys and equipment such as special sunglasses to make children feel more at ease, helping to reduce potential anxiety.

Leave Explanations to the Dentist

A child-friendly dentist with experience treating children will know how to best explain the process of the visit to allay any fears. It is best to avoid explaining the dental procedures in detail to your child, leaving it to the experienced experts instead. Your job can be to keep reassuring them ahead of any visit about how nice and caring everyone at the practice is.

Is It Time For Orthodontics?

There are many types of braces available to children. From traditional metal braces to Invisalign invisible braces, you can be sure to find something that will work for your little one. You probably have a lot of questions concerning braces, which is why we’ve compiled good information you need to know before beginning this journey.

Why do children need braces?

Children need braces for a number of reasons, including overcrowded, crooked, overlapping teeth, or a ‘bad bite’ (also known as malocclusion). A malocclusion occurs when there’s a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. This variation in size results in an overbite or an underbite.

If your child is losing his baby teeth too early or too late, there might be a problem with his (or her) jaw that needs correcting. You should also be wary of teeth that are coming through in the wrong position and teeth that are not making any contact. Other signs to watch out for include lips that can’t close properly and a difficulty eating. All these are alarm bells telling you it’s time your child got to see their dentist.

When is the best age for your child to get braces?

Many orthodontists recommend that children make their first official visit at the age of seven. By this stage, their adult teeth have begun appearing and any alignment issues can be easily corrected. However, remember that treatment won’t begin for another few months or years, depending on your child’s special condition. Children often begin orthodontia between the ages of 8 and 14 and the average treatment time will vary amongst children.

What are the benefits of orthodontics?

Orthodontics helps move teeth into the correct position as they emerge. It also helps in guiding the growth of the jaw bone, therefore, preventing jaw misalignment later in life. Orthodontics also helps in making space for erupting teeth and improves the facial aesthetics of your child. Your child will also have a reduced risk of injury to prominent teeth.

Final thoughts

It’s very common for children to get braces to straighten their teeth, but as a parent, there are many steps you must take before approving the treatment. 

Start by talking with your child’s dentist for advice. In the end, the braces will pay off when your little one has a beautiful smile with straight teeth. 

Bringing your child to the dentist from an early age can help them have good oral health for life

By bringing your child to visit the dentist from an early age, you can help them to establish good oral health habits that will stay with them for the rest of your life. At Danny de Villiers Dentist in Weybridge, we are highly experienced in working with young children, and will ensure that their experience of visiting the dental practice is positive, educational, and fun.
children-dentistryYou should start bringing your child for dental check-ups from around the age of 12 months, by which time some of their milk teeth should have erupted. Of course, every baby and child is unique, and teeth appear at various stages during the first year or two of life. Some babies are even born with teeth already in place. Should you have any concerns about your child’s teeth at any age, or worry about how to care for a tiny baby’s teeth, get in touch with Danny de Villiers Dentist in Weybridge and we will be happy to help and advise you.
Children’s dentistry in Weybridge
Taking your child to see the dentist from a young age can also help prevent dental phobia later in life. At our Weybridge dental practice we will make sure your child feels safe and cared for at all times. They will soon see the dentist as a friendly face whom they look forward to seeing for six-monthly check-ups.
We’ve found that in many cases it can be helpful to bring a young child along to Mum or Dad’s dental check-up, so that they can observe and copy what they see. You can also bring siblings to see the dentist at the same time, again so the younger ones can mimic what the older ones do.
Early intervention is important with children’s teeth, to minimise the risk of problems further down the line. We offer early intervention, non-extraction orthodontics at our Weybridge clinic, meaning that in many cases we can correct any orthodontic issues before they become serious, making it a less invasive process.
Your Weybridge dentist will also check for early signs of decay, and help your child learn to brush their teeth properly.

Why your child should visit the dentist from an early age

Fear of the dentist in adults is often triggered by a traumatic experience in childhood. At Danny de Villiers Dentist in Weybridge, we believe that by bringing your child into the dental practice from an early age, you can help them to view dental visits as a positive experience – meaning they are less likely to experience dental fear or phobia in adulthood.
children dentistryBringing your child to see the dentist from a young age also helps to minimise the need for any invasive procedures. Danny is experienced in working with children and will ensure that the experience they have at our Weybridge dental surgery is always a positive one. Children will feel safe, secure, and cared for, and will soon see the dentist as a friendly face.
Education is vital to helping children maintain good dental health, and habits established in childhood are likely to be carried on into adult life. Information about tooth brushing and dental hygiene will be presented in an engaging and age-appropriate manner.
Recent reports have shown that children in the UK still have an unacceptably high level of tooth decay. Regular visits to the dentist are key in preventing this; by teaching your child the importance of proper tooth cleaning, as well as providing preventative treatments such as fissure sealants and fluoride varnish as necessary.
Early intervention with potential orthodontic problems such as underbites, overbites, cross bites and crowding also makes treatment easier, and often less invasive. If orthodontic treatment is found to be necessary, we have a number of options available to us at our Weybridge dental practice.
When children do have tooth decay, we have an air abrasion device that the dentist can use in place of the drill. With no unpleasant sounds, smells, or vibrations, your clinician can remove any decayed areas without any pain, and without damaging healthy tooth structure.