A little known fact about braces is that they can sometimes help those with blocked airways, particularly if it is caught early on. Blocked airways affects more than just our breathing, it also changes our sleeping patterns. Interrupted sleep can lead to potential future health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. Therefore implementing orthodontic treatment at an earlier stage can assist in adjusting the jaw to ensure that sleep is improved. Early orthodontic treatment in children can be helpful for correcting a jaw and teeth concern that may be leading to blocked airways. Most orthodontic treatment occurs between nine and fourteen years, however it is important to consider an orthodontic consultation sometime after the age of seven.
There are a few signs and symptoms that you may find in a child (usually between four and seven years of age) with blocked airways caused by their jaw. These include:
- Open mouth posture
- Mouth breathing
- Swollen tonsils and adenoids
- Neck hyper flexion (child trying to open airway for more air)
- Increased overbite
- Narrow arches
- Crowding of teeth
Undergoing orthodontic treatment to assist in blocked airways can mean that your child may bypass sleep apnoea in years to come. However, if your child is experiencing these symptoms it may not necessarily mean they have blocked airways, although they may have other jaw concerns to address. If you are unsure what to look for, feel free to contact the team at Norwest Orthodontics for more information.