Home|Child Growth & Development
A balanced facial appearance and smile are more than just aesthetically pleasing, they are also indicators of normal facial development and a child’s general wellness. At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry our pediatric dentists take care of more than just your child’s teeth, they are concerned with how the face grows and develops and are keenly aware of how complications in this delicate process—which is 90% complete within the first 12 years of life—can affect a child’s ability to breathe, eat, and speak normally, as well as impact their appearance and oral health. When you choose Ashburn Children’s Dentistry for dental care, our experienced dentists thoroughly evaluate and monitor your child’s facial growth and development to identify abnormalities early, before they lead to serious problems. When issues are diagnosed, our dentists utilize the most effective and advanced techniques to guide the bones and musculature into balance without the need for invasive or traumatizing procedures.
Correcting imbalanced facial growth and development can have many positive effects on your child’s dental health, overall wellness, and appearance. Benefits include a properly aligned bite, improved breathing, reduced facial and jaw pain, better sleep, and enhanced facial aesthetics, as well as a fuller, healthier, more beautiful smile. A properly developed face and jaw are in many ways the foundation of childhood health and wellness, and you can trust our dentists to be guardians of your child’s facial growth from infancy to maturity.
We welcome you to learn more about our approach to evaluating and treating facial growth and development concerns by exploring the sections provided below. If you want to start your child on the path to lasting oral health and whole body wellness, we welcome you to schedule a discovery session at our practice to learn more about our unique approach.
Your child’s bite and breathing can often be improved with gentle, yet effective, myofunctional orthodontic techniques. Myofunctional orthodontics allow our dentists to use removable appliances, rather than uncomfortable braces, to correct imbalanced facial musculature and encourage optimal muscular functioning to guide proper facial growth and development. The use of myofunctional orthodontics can have a positive impact on your child’s facial appearance and smile, as well as his or her ability to breathe well, sleep peacefully, and achieve optimal whole body health. Our pediatric dentists and team are extensively trained in these advanced techniques and are adept at incorporating these treatments into your child’s comprehensive dental wellness plan.
A band of soft tissue, called a frenulum, can impede your child’s ability to breastfeed, eat, and/or speak properly, as well as affect the proper development and alignment of their teeth. At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry we offer laser procedures for both infants and children that can correct these tight or improperly positioned bands of tissue to help your child thrive and achieve optimal facial growth. We use both the gentle, non-invasive BabyLase™ laser and the all-tissue Waterlase® laser to release bands of tissue in the mouth that cause both dental and health complications. When compared with traditional surgical techniques, these lasers are quick and effective, and result in rapid healing of the treated area.
A frenum (also called frenulum) is a band of tissue that connects or holds down a part of the body such as the tongue, lip, or cheeks. The band of tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is called the lingual frenum, while the band connecting the lip to the gum in front of the teeth is called the labial frenum. Occasionally, a frenum might be exceptionally short, thick, or tight, or may extend too far down along the tongue or the gum, creating what is called a tongue, lip, and/or cheek tie. When a frenum is positioned in such a way as to interfere with the normal alignment of teeth, prevent proper speech, or constrict the movement of the tongue or lips, it can be removed with a very simple surgery called a frenectomy.
Traditionally, a frenectomy is performed with a scalpel and sutures in a hospital setting. However, when conducted with a laser, the surgery tends to cause very little bleeding, does not require sutures, and often results in very little discomfort after the procedure. The Waterlase laser that we use at our office eliminates the needs for IV sedation in a hospital setting. We often perform this procedure on newborns who are having difficulty nursing due to a “tight” frenum, which prohibits their lips from flanging and maintaining a proper latch. Newborns also may have a “tight” frenum under the tongue, prohibiting them from being able to transfer milk from the breast to swallow. At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry we also offer treatment for infants with the gentle BabyLase laser, which uses mild warmth to soften and relax problematic tissue, eliminating the need for laser incisions in some cases. The newborns we treat can nurse immediately and moms notice a very significant difference both in the quantity that the newborn consumes as well as their personal comfort while nursing.
Without proper facial growth and development, your child’s airways can become compromised, resulting in breathing difficulties, sleep disturbances, and persistent snoring. Furthermore, these breathing issues can lead to serious health consequences and behavior concerns that may appear unrelated when examined by an untrained diagnostician. Our pediatric dentists are experienced in diagnosing compromised airways using state-of-the-art imaging, collecting comprehensive information about your child’s medical history and behavior patterns, and administering at-home sleep study systems. They also offer many treatments for resolving childhood obstructive sleep apnea and other airway issues. We invite you to learn more about pediatric sleep apnea and airway treatments by exploring our detailed website page dedicated to these topics.
Bebe Munchee® is a myofunctional tool that is fun and easy for children to use.
The Bebe Munchee is designed for children who are six months old to 24-30 months old, or children with smaller mouths. This tool is typically chewed on, held in the mouth, or mouthed for 10-30 seconds multiple times throughout the day to stimulate nerves, strengthen key muscle groups, assist in teething, and/or help transition from pacifiers.
BabyLase™ is the most advanced and gentle treatment available for infant tongue tie and lip tie. This method is easier on both mother and child when compared with more traditional surgical approaches.
Babies, and especially newborn infants, should always receive the gentlest, most effective treatment we can provide. For this reason, we have invested in the revolutionary BabyLase system, which offers a non-surgical alternative for releasing oral soft tissues that interfere with proper nursing. This laser-assisted approach is the most sophisticated treatment available for correcting infant tongue tie and lip tie. The mild warmth of the light produced by BabyLase can help tightened, restrictive tissue to soften and relax into a more functional position. Furthermore, treatment with BabyLase technology offers additional benefits including the reduction of discomfort and inflammation, as well as stimulation of natural blood flow and the nervous system—all of which aid in comprehensive whole-health healing and re-integration of the treated tissue.
Our pediatric dentists want your child to have a healthy and fulfilling life full of beautiful smiles! To get your child started on a journey toward optimal oral health and whole body wellness, please contact our practice to schedule a discovery session.