As a parent, you want to give your child the best of everything. That includes a healthy smile that looks great and feels good, too! Advancements in dentistry and technology have made that easier than ever, and Accent Smile Center is now able to guide a child’s teeth into the optimal positions before their permanent teeth even emerge, thanks to the HealthyStart System!
This exciting new treatment option provides us with a unique way to address certain orthodontic concerns without the use of braces or aligners. The system also allows us to treat sleep-disordered breathing issues, and can even help correct bad oral habits like extended thumb-sucking, pacifier, or bottle use.
It might sound too good to be true, but the HealthyStart System has already made a positive difference in the lives of more than 3.5 million children all around the world. Dr. Gatgens is committed to using the most cutting-edge dental technology available, and is one of only a few dentists in the Dickson area who has been trained to offer this innovative option! Let’s take a closer look at how it works below.
How does the HealthyStart System work?
The HealthyStart System uses a series of oral appliances that are custom-made for each patient. This goes hand in hand with the personalized treatment plan Dr. Gatgens will develop to address their specific needs and goals.
These appliances are worn at night to control the position of the child’s upper and lower jaws, teeth, and tongue. Some patients will need to wear the appliance during the day, as well, and practice recommended exercises that will train the oral and facial muscles into the appropriate posture. This helps guide the growth of the jaws and direct the placement of the permanent teeth as they begin to emerge. It also controls habits like tongue-thrusting and teeth-grinding.
Many factors contribute to the shape of a child’s airway, and some of these may predispose them to breathing issues when sleeping. Because HealthyStart addresses the anatomy of the mouth and jaws, the position of the teeth, and the posture of the tongue, it allows a child’s airway to develop in a way that will permit good airflow and breathing during sleep for the rest of their life.
Depending on the chid’s age, the HealthyStart System is comprised of three different appliances and phases.
- Habit Corrector: This appliance is worn at night to change current oral habits that may pose a risk to the child’s oral health.
- Second Phase: This custom-made appliance works with a child’s incoming teeth to ensure they grow in the right positions. It’s worn every night for 2-6 months.
- Final Phase: Once the child has at least 4 permanent teeth in place, they will wear this last appliance to help guide their adult teeth into place.
Who is a good candidate for the HealthyStart System?
Some children are born with poor muscle tone in the facial and tongue muscles, which can lead to slack tissues in the airway. This increases the chance of restrictions in the airway, but can be improved with our HealthyStart appliances and specific muscle exercises.
Other children may have what we call “high-risk anatomy” of the upper and lower jaws. This can include a narrow or high palate, a retruded lower jaw, or an opening between the upper and lower front teeth. These abnormalities can be genetic or caused by habits like thumb-sucking, extended pacifier use, or tongue-thrusting.
Additionally, children who suffer from Sleep Disordered Breathing can benefit from treatment with the HealthyStart System. SDB is often linked to mouth breathing, crowded teeth, and snoring. It can impact a child’s behavioral, cognitive, and physical development, sometimes with long-term consequences. The associated symptoms may include hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and bedwetting, among others.
The HealthyStart System can prevent, correct, and improve many of these issues! There are a number of benefits to implementing this treatment, including:
- Achieving a beautiful smile without using braces or surgery
- Preventing crooked teeth instead of correcting them
- Permanent results
- No discomfort
- Working naturally with your child’s facial growth and development
When can a child begin treatment with the HealthyStart System?
A child can start wearing a HealthyStart appliance as early as three years of age, but the common time to begin treatment is ages 5-7. This is when most children begin to see their first permanent teeth emerging. Since the appliance is designed to help guide the permanent teeth into the correct positions, it will usually be worn until all the adult teeth have come in. This is typically around the age of 12.
There is no pain or discomfort associated with the HealthyStart appliance, which is made of a soft material. In fact, we often describe these to our young patients as a “pillow” for their teeth! There is an adjustment period, during which the child gets used to wearing the appliance at night, but this tends to be brief.
Generally, a child’s quality of sleep will improve so much with the appliance in that it becomes very easy to follow all the recommendations since they’re feeling so much better! With the quantity and quality of sleep improving, along with oxygen levels, children being treated with the HealthySystem tend to be well-rested and show progress in the following areas:
- Teeth grinding
- Restless or fitful sleep
- Frequent awakenings
- Sleep-talking and sleep-walking
- Daytime tiredness and irritability
- Poor school performance
Additionally, the HealthyStart System is a revolutionary departure from traditional orthodontics because it treats children early, is non-invasive, and is a natural way of straightening the teeth. Many HealthyStart patients need very little orthodontic movement of their teeth because they’ve already been guided into the proper position over time. Often patients will require no orthodontic intervention at all.
Give your child a beautiful smile and a good night’s sleep with the HealthyStart System from Accent Smile Center
The HealthyStart System helps guide a child’s teeth into place and also encourages proper growth and alignment of the lower jaw. The teeth emerge straighter, making it possible to form healthy oral habits early on. By expanding the entire anatomy of the upper and lower jaws, the appliances help to expand a child’s airway, allowing it to develop to its full potential. If treatment occurs during a child’s critical growing years, many of the symptoms associated with SDB are greatly reduced or simply disappear. This allows children to get a full night’s sleep and achieve a beautiful smile!
If you’d like to learn more about how you can give your child the best chance of a healthy smile and a good night’s sleep, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gatgens by calling 615-800-2747 or clicking here.