T4K or Trainer for Kids (Pre-Orthodontic Trainer)

Did your child thumb-suck a lot when he or she was younger? Did/does he or she have the habit of thrusting out his or her tongue when he or she talks? Does your child breathe more through his mouth than through his nose?

If you answered "yes" to any of the previous questions, chances are your child's teeth look quite crooked (or have weird gaps in between), or your child has difficulty saying words with the letter "s." You may notice a few other things, as well.

In such cases, you may want to visit your dentist and ask about the T4K or Trainer for Kids. This is a pre-orthodontic trainer -- primarily for kids aged 10 and below -- and is designed to improve your child's teeth and correct habits like mouth-breathing, tongue-thrusting, etc.

Should you inquire about a T4K, generally, you will find out, that this is a 2-year treatment. Your child will get 2 trainers, with the first lasting for about 6 months to a year. Your child will have to wear the trainer for at least an hour (during daytime) and for the whole time that your child is asleep at night. Prior to getting the trainer, you will have to go for some x-rays and other dental lab procedures.

Your child is not supposed to chew on the trainer. The lips are likewise supposed to be closed when the trainer is in the mouth, with the tongue tip of your child placed on the tongue tag. Monthly, you will have to go back to the dentist for check-ups.

What is required for a T4K? A lot of patience, persistence, and determination. You'll also have to save up as the cost is quite substantial. It can save your child the trouble of wearing braces (more expensive and more painful) in the future so that should be worth the expense -- although getting a trainer does not guarantee that you will not wear braces.

In the first few days of wearing the trainer, expect some tenderness of the teeth and gums. If your child persists though, there should be improvements in his teeth, his posture, speech, and balance in no time. Happy training!

[By Angelica Viloria | Saturday, June 24, 2006]


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