As a family dentist in Bountiful, UT, Dr. Paul Larsen offers comprehensive oral health care for growing smiles. Our team is committed to the healthy oral development of our young patients and strives to support parents and caregivers in fostering good oral habits.
Dr. Larsen offers the HealthyStart™ System as an alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment. The HealthyStart™ System is designed to guide the oral development of your child when there are concerns related to the structure of their jaw, the bite, or tooth position. Using a series of custom mouthguards, this treatment option can be implemented at an early age to direct oral development and support a healthy smile as your child grows.
Why Does My Child Need the HealthyStart™ System?
Dr. Larsen works with parents and caregivers to establish good dental health habits and to address concerns that may not seem related to your child’s smile. There is a range of symptoms and concerns that can be attributed to an oral development issue that is affecting the quality of your child’s sleep:
- ADHD, hyperactivity
- Mouth breathing
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- Sleepy during the day
- Restless sleep at night
- Chronic allergies
Scientific studies have shown the connection between children with one or more of these symptoms and sleep disorders, commonly sleep-disordered breathing. The underlying cause of a sleep disorder is a structural problem with the airway that is affecting your child’s ability to breathe naturally and comfortably when asleep. The HealthyStart™ System is specifically designed to expand and guide the dental arches and facilitate proper tooth alignment and a functional airway.
How Does HealthyStart™ Work?
The HealthyStart™ System offers a phased approach to meet the changing needs of your growing and developing child. Using flexible trays, the jaw muscles will be trained to grow properly and push the teeth into the proper position. Dr. Larsen will create a personalized treatment plan for your child’s unique needs and work with you to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed for an optimal result.
- Phase One: phase one is the use of a custom oral appliance that is designed to halt myofunctional habits such as thumb sucking. Worn at night for up to 5 months, the habit correction device lays the foundation for the next phase if your child has oral habits affecting their development.
- Phase Two: the next appliance is designed to guide tooth position as the permanent teeth begin to erupt. This appliance is worn for up to 6 months.
- Phase Three: the final phase is started once there are at least four permanent teeth. This final appliance will keep the teeth in the desired position as they grow in and support proper alignment and arch growth.
The benefits of using this system are your child will most likely not need braces in the future. Also, it only needs to be worn for a short period of time per day. Most dental insurances with orthodontic benefits will cover this treatment too. We will gladly submit the claim on your behalf and inform you of how much you will owe out-of-pocket.
Can my child do better in school with HealthyStart™?
HealthyStart™ is designed to help your child get better sleep. This helps to make sure they’re well-rested and able to learn and retain information better. Studies have shown improvement in children’s test scores in subjects like math, science, and spelling. Being rested properly is important to make sure you’re learning properly.
What are the dangers of untreated self-disordered breathing?
Sleep-disordered breathing isn’t something that you want to ignore. Not getting enough sleep can lead to significant problems in your overall quality of life and health. Most commonly, your child will suffer from behavioral issues and struggling to stay awake throughout the day. But sleep-disordered breathing can also lead to problems with the heart and lungs as a result of not getting enough oxygen. In rare cases, it can even be life-threatening. In children, it can also impact their rate of physical growth.
Will my child have breathing problems as an adult without treatment as a child?
It’s not definite that your child will have these issues in the future. However, genetics and development do play a role in sleep-disordered breathing as an adult.
If my child has an orthodontic condition in the baby teeth, will they still have one in their permanent teeth?
It’s tempting to let conditions in the baby teeth go in the hopes that they’ll correct themselves in the future. But if your child has an orthodontic condition in the baby teeth, it can actually get worse in permanent teeth. It’s rare for children to grow out of these kinds of conditions. As children get older, it also becomes harder to treat these problems because the mouth is more developed.
If my child has perfect baby teeth, why do the permanent teeth become crowded and crooked?
A perfect set of baby teeth means that there won’t be enough space for the larger permanent teeth. They rotate and turn to fit into the space that’s there for them. With the HealthyStart™ system, the permanent teeth will have predetermined areas for them to grow into. It helps to naturally grow the arch and provides substantial room for the adult teeth to grow in straight.
What problems can the HealthyStart™ correct?
While sleep-disordered breathing is one of the main benefits of treatment with HealthyStart™, it can also be used for the following conditions:
- Treating a gummy smile
- Develop the jaw and airway correctly
- Stop finger or thumb sucking, as well as mouth breathing
- Eliminate tongue thrust and position the tongue properly
- Help to straighten teeth without braces
- Correct conditions like overbite, crossbite, and crooked or cramped teeth
Is my child an ideal candidate for HealthyStart™?
Early intervention treatment with HealthyStart™ works best when the child doesn’t have a significant number of their permanent teeth yet. The more permanent teeth present, the more developed the mouth is. When the mouth is more developed, it’s harder to change and shape the mouth in the ways necessary for effective treatment with HealthyStart™.
How much does HealthyStart™ cost?
Treatment with HealthyStart™ can be a different cost for every individual. This treatment option especially is extremely personalized to the unique patient. Your child may need more imaging services than another patient, or they could have a more mild case that needs to be treated. Once we do a thorough oral exam, we’ll be able to work with you to discuss prices and treatment plans.