About Dental Appliances
Dental appliances may be used in a number of situations to help improve your child's oral function or appearance and protect their smile from damage during sports. At Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates, we are pleased to offer fixed space maintainers, thumb and finger appliances, palatal expanders, and custom athletic mouth guards for children and teenagers. We work closely with our professional dental labs to customize dental appliances specifically for each individual to ensure the best possible treatment outcomes and results for children's dental health. To protect, preserve, and enhance your child's smile with a dental appliance, contact our Lancaster, PA practice and schedule a visit with one of our board-certified pediatric dentists.
Types of Oral Appliances
We are pleased to offer the following types of oral appliances to our patients:
Athletic mouth guards: If your child is involved in sports, it is critical to protect their teeth, gums, and jaw with a custom athletic mouth guard. Unlike store-bought boil-and-bite options, custom mouth guards provide a better fit and are often more effective at protecting your child's smile from harm. Mouth guards are recommended by the American Dental Association for children who engage in sports, like hockey, football, soccer, wrestling, basketball, gymnastics, and even track and field, among others.
Space maintainers: At times, baby teeth need to be extracted before the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. To preserve this space and prevent surrounding teeth from shifting into the area, we may recommend a fixed space maintainer. This common device is typically made of smooth wire and bonded to the teeth around the extraction site for support.
Thumb and finger appliances: A habit of thumb- or finger-sucking that persists beyond age three poses a risk for bite complications, narrow arches, and other functional and orthodontic concerns. To help break this habit, we offer thumb and finger appliances. These fixed or removable devices attach to the upper teeth and prevent fingers and thumbs from touching the roof of the mouth and gums behind the front teeth.
Palatal expanders: Some young patients may need palatal expanders to assist with their teeth growth and orthodontic needs. If required, this appliance has brackets that connect to the teeth. These brackets connect to hardware, which goes across the roof of your child's mouth. Right in the middle of this hardware is a small hole for a key that stretches the arch to make more room.
"My son is 6 and has autism, so he can get nervous in these kinds of situations or struggle to cooperate sometimes. The hygienist who worked on him, Tabitha, was patient and kind, explained everything to him so he knew what to expect, and made it a great experience for him! The dentist, Dr. Ross, is great and did a wonderful job on my son’s in-hospital dental procedure last year. The no cavity club is so exciting for the kids too, he loved getting a token to get a prize, and couldn’t wait to show his teacher his certificate! We use that at home as an incentive to brush good (“remember, you want to stay in the no cavity club right?”) When we left my son said he wishes he could go to the dentist everyday haha."- L.G. / Google / Oct 21, 2021
"Tabitha was so awesome at getting my 4 year old comfortable! She was dreading the appt. Thank you for being so sweet!"- E.O. / Google / Oct 01, 2021
"My kids have been coming here since the beginning, and I've always been so impressed by not only the care they have received, but how patient and kind every single person in the office is. Highly highly recommend LPDA"- C.D. / Google / Sep 21, 2021
"I love coming here with my daughter . They are so patient and are very relatable to my daughter by telling her stories and making her comfortable while cleaning her teeth ! Made me feel like I made the best choice choosing them to care for my child teeth! They also explain to me very well how to care for her teeth and recommend some steps while doing so ! Couldn’t be any better! Great experience!"- D.L. / Google / Sep 10, 2021
"From the friendly ladies at the front desk to the spacious waiting rooms and sweet hygienist and dentist, LPDA was a great choice to bring my kiddo."- S.R. / Google / Aug 14, 2021
Candidates for Oral Appliances
We may suggest an oral appliance for your child or teenager to enhance, preserve, or improve their oral health in a number of situations. Mouth guards are recommended for any patient who engages in contact or non-contact sports or physical activities. These custom guards are especially helpful if your son or daughter wears braces or has dental restorations. Space maintainers may be an important aspect of your child's dental care if a tooth is lost or extracted before the underlying permanent tooth is ready to emerge. This type of appliance will hold open the extraction site while preventing neighboring teeth from invading the space and disrupting proper tooth eruption or alignment. Thumb and finger appliances may be ideal for children who still have a thumb- or finger-sucking habit beyond the early childhood years. By breaking this tendency early, we can often minimize the risk for concerns, like flared front teeth, a narrow palatal arch, and other development issues.
The Treatment Process
To make a custom dental appliance, like a palatal expander or space maintainer, our team will first take impressions of your child's lower and upper arches. We will then forward these molds to the appropriate dental lab where the dental appliance will be fabricated of the highest quality materials. It generally takes a couple of weeks for our office to receive oral appliances from our partner labs. When your child's device arrives, we will schedule an appointment to have it fitted or bonded into place. Our pediatric dentists will make any necessary adjustments for comfort.
Caring for Dental Appliances
Special instructions on how to care for your child's appliance at home will be reviewed with you by our team. Since it can be challenging to clean effectively around fixed appliances, such as space maintainers, we will show you and your child how to brush and floss to maintain oral health. Follow-up visits may be scheduled to make adjustments as needed to the dental appliance. We also encourage your child to bring any removable appliances (like mouth guards) to each of their regular dental visits so that we can inspect the device and ensure it is still properly serving their needs.
Dental insurance may cover a portion of your child's dental appliance. Before getting started, a member of our business staff will review your plan's benefits and determine if there may be any personal costs. Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates works with a number of dental insurances and makes covering any out-of-pocket expenses convenient with a variety of available payment options, including special financing through CareCredit®.
Custom Dental Appliances
Wearing a dental appliance is an important aspect of oral health for many children and teen patients. At our child-centered Lancaster, PA practice, our team of specialists offers custom mouth guards, space maintainers, and thumb and finger appliances to preserve, enhance, and improve your child's dental wellness and smile. To find out more about the benefits of these oral appliances, please contact Lancaster Pediatric Dental Associates and speak with our friendly team today.