Help Your Child Breathe Easy at Night with Ideal Jaw Position

If your child snores or experiences obstructive sleep apnea at night, appliance therapy can be an effective treatment. It’s a noninvasive approach. Your child puts in a device similar to an orthodontic retainer before going to sleep. It helps their airway stay open. Plus, they can function like orthodontics, straightening teeth or keeping them from getting crooked.

To learn whether appliance therapy is right for your child, please contact a local ASAP Pathway dentist today.

What an Oral Appliance Can Do

Oral appliances can perform two main functions for your child:

  • Hold the airway open
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for orthodontics
  • Encourage proper growth of palate and jaw

The main function of oral appliances is to help your child breathe properly at night. It does this by holding your child’s airway open while they sleep.

Oral appliances can also encourage your child’s teeth to come in straight. This means they might not need orthodontics later, or, if they do, they might not need as much.

At the same time, an oral appliance can encourage the proper growth of a child’s palate and jaw. The force from the oral appliance will push outward, stimulating jaw growth. In addition, the appliances can perform an orthodontic function, keeping teeth straight and helping them avoid crowding.

How Oral Appliances Work

The airway from the mouth to the chest is mostly made up of soft tissue. The throat and tongue have only two bony supports above the chest: the jaw and the hyoid bone. Because the hyoid bone isn’t connected to any other bones its function is limited. This leaves the jaw as the major bony support of the airway.

When your child lies down to sleep at night, the muscles that hold the airway open during the day relax. Gravity can then pull the airway closed.

Oral appliances move the jaw so that it can effectively hold the airway open, even if muscles relax and the tongue falls backward.
At the same time, the forces on the appliance push the teeth outward, which encourages the growth of the palate.

Common Oral Appliances

There are many different oral appliances available. Here are some of the ones used by ASAP Pathway dentists.

HealthyStart

HealthyStart appliances are a custom-designed series of clear plastic aligners that encourage your child’s development while holding their airway open. The goal is both to improve breathing and avoid the need for braces later in life.

Monoblock

Monoblock appliances are a class of treatments rather than a specific brand name. This type of appliance consists of a single piece that fits between the upper and lower jaws, holding them in an ideal position. Simple, sturdy construction often makes this a good choice for children, who can be hard on their appliances.

Myobrace

Myobrace is like HealthyStart, a preventive approach to jaw development that encourages the growth of the jaw and heads off the need for braces later in life. These appliances come in child, teen, and adult versions.

ALF

Short for Advanced Lightwire Functionals, these removable orthodontic appliances encourage the growth of the jaws while holding the airway open.

Myomunchee

This device encourages children to develop healthy chewing habits. In turn, this helps them develop their jaws, become nasal breathers, and ultimately sleep better at night.

Dentists Get the Same Results with Different Devices

Looking at the potential effectiveness of each of these devices, some people become convinced one or the other of them is best for their kids and want to seek out a dentist who will give them the device they want.

However, it’s important to understand that the goals and functions of many of these devices overlap and that dentists can achieve the same results using different devices. It’s best to find a dentist whose expertise you feel you can trust, then let that dentist recommend the best device for your child.

Find a Dentist in Your Area Today

If you are looking to start appliance therapy for your child, it’s time to talk to a dentist. Please contact a local ASAP Pathway dentist today for an appointment.