Straight Teeth and Healthy Breathing for Children

Healthy breathing depends on many factors, such as proper growth and development of the jaws and airway. Although these factors are complicated, we can, fortunately, treat them with many methods. One of the tools we have to help create a healthy airway in children is orthodontics. This is more than just traditional braces, and it gives us many ways to help your child enjoy healthy breathing—and straight teeth.

If you think your child might benefit from orthodontics for helping their breathing, please contact a local ASAP Pathway dentist today to schedule a consultation.

When Your Child Might Benefit from Orthodontics

Your child might benefit from orthodontics if our quiz indicates they have sleep-disordered breathing and they have one or more of these issues with their teeth:

  • Crowded baby teeth
  • Tooth wear and chipping
  • Deep or over closed bite
  • Open bite
  • Crossbite
  • Overjet
  • Misplaced teeth

Baby teeth are supposed to make space for adult teeth, so if they’re crowded, it’s likely that the adult teeth, which are larger, will be, too.

Tooth wear and chipping show that your child is likely clenching and grinding their teeth. This not only damages their teeth, but can also set them up for bite problems in the future.

A deep bite is one where the upper teeth close over the lower teeth, concealing them. This is also called an over closed bite.

An open bite is when some of your teeth contact, but not all of them. Instead, there’s an open space between the upper and lower teeth.

Crossbite occurs when your upper teeth are narrower than your lower teeth at some point and wider than them at other points, causing them to cross over.

Overjet, or overbite, is when your upper teeth extend further than your lower teeth. Most people have some degree of an overbite, but extreme overbite can be problematic.

Misplaced teeth is when teeth are coming out in the wrong places or at odd angles. This is usually a sign that there isn’t enough room for your teeth in your jaws.

Orthodontics and the Airway

Most people think of orthodontics just as a way to straighten teeth. This is only natural: it’s what the name means, after all.
However, orthodontics can do far more than straighten teeth. Orthodontics can encourage the growth of the jaws and palate, which in turn can expand the airway, helping a child to breathe easier. This can be done at the same time as straightening teeth.

Types of Options

In the past, there were limited orthodontic options. These days, there are multiple options for orthodontics. This includes:

  • Traditional braces
  • Invisalign
  • Interceptive orthodontics

Traditional braces with wires and brackets remain an effective way to move teeth and encourage development of the jaws. There are many different ways to do this now that overcome some of the limitations that might make you hesitant about braces.

Invisalign is the brand name for the leading type of clear plastic aligner therapy. This approach to orthodontics moves your teeth with clear plastic aligners rather than brackets and wires. It has some advantages, but can’t perform all the tooth movements that traditional braces can.

Interceptive orthodontics are treatments that work before your child’s teeth go crooked. We talk about these extensively on our appliance therapy page.

Orthodontics Can Help Your Child Breathe

If your child has signs of disordered breathing, and you are concerned about crooked teeth, orthodontics can treat both problems at once. To learn how orthodontics can help your child, please contact a local ASAP Pathway dentist today.