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Blocked airways and early orthodontic treatment

What many of us don’t realise is that our facial profile and jaw starts to become permanent by the age of 12. Effects such as overbites, under bites, crowding, small jaw space etc. are pretty much set by the time we hit adolescence. Interceptive Orthodontics points out “Treatment must focus on the problem when it starts” essentially, not waiting until problems become permanent. By catching orthodontic issues early, we can mould the jaw before it hits permanency.

We assume that orthodontic treatment is all about achieving a straight smile and good aesthetics, however as many orthodontists in Sydney will tell you, it is all about correcting the issues that affect us health wise first and foremost.  One particular health issue that can benefit from early orthodontic treatment is the alleviation of blocked airways. Blocked airways can inhibit both breathing and also sleeping patterns; if we can adjust the jaw at an early stage we can ensure that the patient will have better longevity in the coming years, particularly from a sleep point of view.

The following symptoms can help determine whether your child may have blocked airways caused by their jaw:

  • Open mouth posture
  • Mouth breathing
  • Swollen tonsils and adenoids
  • Neck hyperflexion (child trying to open airway for more air)
  • Common in ages 4-7years
  • Increased overjet
  • Narrow arches
  • More crowding

The benefits of undergoing orthopaedic treatment (children orthodontics) early for issues such as widening of the upper arch (expanding), can achieve a long term solution for a blocked airway and will bypass sleep apnoea in years to come. If aesthetics are taken to be the primary focus of the orthodontic solution then airways will not be successfully alleviated however if airways are our predominant focus, the health of the patient is achieved.

Overall, orthodontic treatment is about ensuring the best quality of life, going beyond the concern of teeth and achieving a holistic approach to a better lifestyle; if you are unsure whether your child is suffering from blocked airways due to jaw alignment, please contact us at Norwest Orthodontics on 9672 6113 to organise an initial consultation.

Blocked airways and early orthodontic treatment

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