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FAQ:  Orthodontics - Children - Teens

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Orthodontics Ask The Dentist - Edward Leventhal Question:
My daughter has an underbite problem that runs in my husband's family. I've asked 3 orthodontists on the proper treatment and have gotten different responses. One orthodontist recommended using a reverse-pull head gear that should be started during age seven to minimixe the need for jaw surgery. I would like to consider this option but the other orthodontists are reluctant to say that such method will work since at this young age my daughter is still growing.

Has reverse-pull headgear been proven to work? Please help me understand clinical facts about these orthodontics - orthopedic products because I really would like to treat this problem early and prevent any jaw surgery. ...Christina

Christina, reverse pull headgear is usually used for about 1-1/2 years to encourage the top jaw to grow at a faster rate. This is only used if the top jaw is deficient in growth! However, if the top jaw is 'normal' and the problem is that the bottom jaw is growing at a faster rate, then the only way to 'fix' the problem eventually is through surgery, which brings the lower jaw back.

If this is the case, you cannot prevent jaw surgery as the lower jaw will grow as is, it is predetermined genetically. However, if the top jaw is deficient, and the lower jaw is normal, then by all means, do the headgear therapy. Hope this helps!

Edward Leventhal, DDS
Baltimore Cosmetic Implant Dentistry
8860 Belair Road
Baltimore, MD 21236
(410) 256-7300

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