June 20, 2019

Boy breathing in his sleep

What if there was a way for your child to avoid braces? Whether the thought of keeping thousands of dollars in your pocket or the thought of your kid never needing to cover brackets and wires with wax put a smile on your face, both would be pure bliss.

The good news is that that title isn’t click bait. Your child can actually avoid braces!

You see, crooked teeth are a symptom of a dysfunctional system and the mouth is much more than teeth. In fact, the mouth plays an essential part in the growth and development of facial structure.

And it all starts with being able to breathe properly through the nose.

The Impact of Breathing on Growth & Development

As parents, we’re always keeping a close eye on our child’s growth and development. So, have you noticed your child not sleeping well, or snoring? These are early warning signs that there is a problem with their airway. And these signs can start to show as early as four years of age.

In our post, What You Need To Know About Your Child’s Dental Health we talked about myofunctional dentistry and the importance of keeping the breathing airways open. Airway issues cause problems with the growth and development of the face (e.g. crooked teeth, receding chins, poor mid-face development, etc.).

Breathing affects the body in many other ways as well. When a child has an obstructed airway they may face:

  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Speech disorders and problems speaking
  • Bedwetting
  • Balance Issues
  • Difficulty maintaining good oral hygiene
  • Difficulty digesting food
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
  • Headaches
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Chronic stomachaches
  • Learning disabilities
  • Behavioral problems (like A.D.D. or hyperactivity)
  • Poor posture
  • Allergies and respiratory-related illness
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)
  • Difficulty breastfeeding
  • Poor habits such as nail biting and thumb sucking

When considering the long list of potential problems, it’s not hard to see why it’s important to make sure that your child develops proper tongue placement, lip seal, and nasal breathing — because it will have an effect on their entire life.

In the other post, we really dove into the details about the early warning signs and what you can do at each stage of development. But the really important takeaway is that you take action now to ensure that the correct steps are taken while they are still developing.

Oral Growth Guidance 

Growth guidance essentially ensures that the jaw grows in the proper position. And even though it is possible to treat adults, it’s much better to catch things early on while the mouth is still developing and more amenable to changes.

The roof of the mouth is basically the floor of the nose, so if your child has a deep palate that constricts their nasal cavity or if their maxilla is narrow and forces the tongue to block the throat, they won’t be able to breathe properly. Thankfully, they are still developing, and facial development impacts the airway.

This means an orthopedic intervention such as wearing a RAAGA (Removable Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance), can be used for children who are still developing their adult teeth to turn their breathing difficulties around.

How It Helps Your Child Avoid Braces

The oral growth guidance appliance looks kind of like a retainer. It works by stimulating and correcting lower jaw growth —pushing it forward and up — to keep the airway open so your child can breathe easily and prevent snoring as well as keep their jaw joints and body posture healthy.

Once the corrected development is achieved, their lips will properly surround the teeth, the jaw shape and size will grow correctly, and the end result will be a healthy and beautiful face and jaw. 

When the jaw and face develop properly, it allows for proper tongue placement and lip seal. Essentially, the tongue, lips, and cheeks are nature’s braces, and when they are functioning correctly they help get and keep emerging teeth in their aligned position.

This proper development of the face and functionality of the tongue, lips and cheeks are what reduces the chances of your child needing braces later.

But not only that. If they do need orthodontic treatment after growth guidance therapy, it is typically for a shorter duration and any bite issues are quickly corrected.

Timing is Everything

Oral guidance growth with RAAGA fixes problems with the airway and your child’s bite development, keeping their teeth and jaw health growing optimally. This is best done before your child’s adult teeth come in. The goal is to guide their smile into proper position by the time the jaw and facial structure stop growing. While we can still work with your child from the ages of 12-17, keep in mind they might already be experiencing improper facial development that could require orthodontics later.

The sooner you take action, the sooner that long list of issues we outlined above can be improved and even eliminated.

If your child is having trouble sleeping and snores regularly, or has any of the other common symptoms, we can help! If you want to learn more about growth guidance treatment to prevent breathing problems and encourage proper jaw and facial development so that your child can avoid braces, we invite you to schedule a reservation to meet with our highly-trained dentist, Dr. Powell and our dedicated team at Exceptional Dentistry. Just call (661) 349-7725 or schedule a visit in Palmdale, CA, online.

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