The mouth of a growing child is a busy place! There’s a lot going on as teeth emerge from the gums because the developing dentition (the positioning, number, and interrelationship of the teeth) is dynamic; everything is moving in real-time. This movement includes not just the teeth but the bones and connective tissue of the jaw, palate, face, and cranium. Positioning of the teeth, their aesthetic appearance, and how the teeth fit and work together are influenced by genetics, physiological forces, and also by behavior (e.g., mouth breathing), habit (e.g., thumb sucking), and even the types of foods a child eats (hard versus soft).
Teeth do not always emerge from the gums perfectly positioned and aligned. Instead, emerging teeth may twist, tilt forward or back, or to the side, or overlap, if there isn’t enough space along the dental arches. These crowded teeth in children in Los Angeles, CA, can negatively impact the structural and functional development of the mouth, airway, and jaw, as well as aesthetic appearance. Crowded teeth can affect the child’s self-esteem, cause pain, improper chewing, as well as problems with breathing. Because crowding of the teeth can lead to other problems or reflect underlying developmental issues, it is essential to receive treatment as soon as possible. Dr. Hila Robbins is a kids’ dentist specialist, specially trained to assess, diagnose and treat problems associated with crowded teeth.
It is important to emphasize that crowded teeth are not just a matter of appearance, and optimal treatment is about much more than “straightening the teeth.” Dr. Robbins’ treatment approach considers the whole body—how the biology, structure, and function of the oral cavity related to the rest of the body and the child’s overall health and development. Sometimes, early, gentle interventions (for example, the use of a custom-designed ALF appliance) that work with the body’s natural developmental tendencies can reduce or even eliminate the need for more invasive or forceful corrective procedures, such as tooth extraction or fixed wire braces. That said, Dr. Robbins takes a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment and may advise consultation with other specialists, such as an oral surgeon or orthodontist, either as part of early intervention or at a later time.