Maintaining the ability for physical and peer group activity should be a core consideration when treating children.
Treating young patients includes infants, children and adolescents. Developmental phases they experience are not constant, infancy to starting school, or adolescence to adulthood are quite different in nature.
Paediatric maxillofacial consultants need to understand physiological differences at any given age and the impact of these changes over time.
The support they are offering may be just for a point in time, yet requires a vision of the future. Long term planning is equally important for cases which are likely to require intervention at varying stages.
Childhood health is vital in itself, to ensure good development but outcome for life should be the lead factor in most situations. Our facial skeletons and surrounding tissue are a key part of personal development.
A Reflection Of Ourselves
Our minds and the person we become are the real reflection of us, rather than physical features. Even so, they tend to be influenced by our physical development and the way others perceive us.
Considering this within paediatric care choices is natural. Orthodontics is an example, where treatment may not just be for medical reasons, when we are looking at wider maxillofacial treatment, the same applies.
A maxillofacial clinic deals with trauma, disease, jaw disorders in children, dental anomalies. They must consider the psychological wellbeing and development of young patients, alongside effective medical treatment.
The Medical Relationship
Jaw fractures are not uncommon in older children, although their jaw varies anatomically from adults, heals at a different rate, can heal imperfectly and plays a part in their developing dental structure.
That aspect can itself require unique care, as many of us experience imperfect tooth growth during childhood. Missing, malformed, or supernumerary teeth are common and can carry on forming after medical intervention.
Nasal damage, or incorrect growth is another area maxillofacial surgeons often deal with. A complex area of varying tissue, which must be carefully addressed, a less than clear airway causes more harm than awkward breathing.
Airway obstruction can bring sleep problems and research links this to reduced neurocognitive development in children. Breathing issues at all times can cause issues, such as increased intracranial pressure.
The requirement is evident, medical care and ongoing development have an unbreakable relationship, which must be factored into treatment.
Planning The Future
In depth diagnosis is a great start, based on scientific understanding, modern imaging and experience of childhood facial conditions.
The ability to draw on the skills of a multi disciplinary team can assist. Having consultants with different sub-specialties in house has helped at our clinic, along with the presence of skilled orthodontists.
A dedicated consultant, wider input and technology are essential ingredients for individual treatment planning. From allowing for finite details, such as future tooth eruption, to mapping a decade of development to come.
Treatment decisions for children are different, surgery you might offer to adults, such as cyst removal, may need to be partial in younger patients. Aggressive surgical intervention may be correct in a sense but could cause deformity in later years.
The primary need to plan for the long term, physically and psychologically calls for a better route. Good childhood care is about 60, or 70 years, or more, to come, rather than just fixing a problem.
If you have any questions about paediatric maxillofacial care and childhood development, by all means contact our team, who will be happy to help.