Facial Growth & Development

facial growth developmentRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Did you know that how your child breathes could affect the way his or her face develops?

If your child breathes regularly through the mouth, it literally can change the way your child’s face develops. In these instances, children face needing orthodontics during their teenage years. The problem is that modern orthodontics focuses on pulling the upper front teeth back, and the lower front teeth forward, and this can cause some problems because it never addresses a narrow upper palate or the growth of the jawbone itself. Many children who engage in frequent mouth breathing develop what is known as long face syndrome, which occurs when the face grows vertically rather than horizontally.

Individuals with longer, narrower faces also are more likely to develop narrow dental arches. Narrow arches can be a precursor to a variety of oral health issues including a narrow upper airway, increasing the likelihood of airway issues such as a sleep breathing disorder. These airway issues often go undiagnosed as, in children, a sleep breathing disorder can mimic the symptoms of an attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder. Unfortunately, many children are diagnosed and medicated for an attention deficit disorder that they don’t even have, when instead, their problems stem from not getting enough air all because of their underdeveloped jaw!

If mouth breathing goes untreated, it can cause a variety of other issues, including the following:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Recessed chin
  • Narrow mouth
  • Bad bite, also known as malocclusion
  • High palatal vaults
  • A gummy smile
  • Chronic fatigue

These issues can follow a child into adulthood, leading to even more severe issues such as sleep apnea, or temporomandibular joint disorder. Therefore, early intervention is crucial to your child’s health and well-being. In fact, routine visits to the dentist are important for this reason. Assessment of facial growth and development should be done while a child is still growing, which helps make treatment easier and less invasive rather than waiting until later in life.

At Hartrick Dentistry, we provide various treatments that we can use to intercede your child’s facial growth and development. Sometimes, doing so at an earlier age could even help prevent your child from needing orthodontics later in life, although this is not a guarantee. We also collaborate with a certified myofunctional therapist that assist your child in doing painless exercises of the mouth and tongue that help strengthen their oral resting posture, which is so vital to their health and development.

What to do next

If a member of your family exhibits any of the above symptoms or oral issues, having the behavior diagnosed and corrected as soon as possible is vital. The sooner a person receives treatment for mouth breathing, the less likely that developmental issues, social problems, or health ailments develop as a consequence for the behavior.

Your dentist should play a crucial role in the treatment of chronic mouth breathing. At Hartrick Dentistry, we can assess your child for optimal facial growth and development. To learn more, please call the office of Hartrick Dentistry at (248) 549-0950 to schedule an evaluation today.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.