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March 3, 2003


Question from Nevada, USA:

At her most recent appointment, my seven year old daughter's dentist stated that he suspects she'll need orthodontic care in the future. Do children with type 1 diabetes have more problems with orthodontic manipulation (including palate expanding devices) than children without diabetes?


There does not seem to be anything in the literature about diabetes and orthodontics. However, I believe there is some correlation between how the patient manages their disease and patient compliance with recommended orthodontic procedures. Also, depending on the level of glycemic control determines the extent and severity of oral health problems including gum problems, dry mouth and cavities. Impeccable oral hygiene is a must along with regular check-ups.

As expensive as orthodontic treatment is, it’s important that all things are in order before starting. Get a consultation with an orthodontist early if your dentist has some concerns. The orthodontists are now recommending screenings as early as four for problems. They can propose early conservative treatments for malocclusion and skeletal misalignments. This I, personally and professionally believe, has been the best route to take. I have had two children go through two phases of treatment and a third child has started her second phase. A fourth was screened at four years old and is now in a holding arch. One goal of early therapy is to avoid tooth extraction.