You may be surprised to find out that orthodontics involves more than just straightening teeth. How you breathe has a direct impact on your oral health, so all patients can benefit from an airway evaluation by our orthodontists. Breathing problems are more often noticed in children. Airway issues are often caused by enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or turbinates. They could also be caused by improper jaw positioning. Our office often works hand in hand with local ENTs to aid in correction of certain components of airway issues. However, treatment by an ENT alone may not fully address the entire concern. Additional orthodontic treatment may be required to fully resolve any airway issues.
Signs your child may not be breathing properly include:
- Mouth breathing
- Chronic sinus infection
- Poor school performance
- Shallow, rapid breathing
- Poor sleeping habits
Improper breathing leads to the tongue resting incorrectly in the mouth. This can lead to poor facial growth and cause teeth to come in crooked. It is important to catch these problems early as facial growth is complete at age 12. Even if teeth are straightened with braces, they can become crooked again if breathing problems are not diagnosed and corrected properly.
To correct these problems, the roof of the mouth can be widened using a dental device known as an expander. This helps open up the nose. Children can then be taught proper breathing exercises and tongue positioning by our orthodontists.
Here are some benefits of airway treatment:
- Proper facial development
- Reduce or eliminate the need for braces
- Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
- Better sleep
- Improved overall health