Issues with the jaw can be linked to problems such as mouth breathing, improper swallow, overactive lip and cheek muscles and more. Our BC and Alberta orthodontists discuss how a retruded or protruded jaw can affect children's oral health - and what can be done with early intervention.
What is Retruded or Protruded Jaw?
The environment in which our jaws grow can influence development, and the growth of our jaws is guided by the soft tissue and muscle in our face. If dysfunction occurs in the soft tissue or muscle, this can lead to abnormal jaw growth and a retruded (set back) or protruded (set forward) jaw.
Proper tongue posture (on the roof of the mouth, being able to keep lips sealed with teeth lightly touching and proper nasal breathing are important when it comes to guiding facial development.
Muscle and soft tissue dysfunction might include prolonged/thumb pacifier habits, mouth breathing, overactive lip and cheek muscles, a resting open mouth posture, low tongue posture or an improper swallow.
How Can Orthodontics Help?
Fortunately, we may be able to correct these issues with early orthodontic intervention as part of a 2--phase treatment approach. By diagnosing orthodontic issues early on, we can still have time to guide jaw and palate development and positively impact your child's oral health, not to mention change the appearance of their facial structure and smile.
We recommend that every child visit an orthodontist for an initial assessment before age 7. From there, we can develop a custom treatment plan to address your child's specific conditions and needs. Treatment may include exercises to train new habits and better tongue posture. In some cases, palatal expansion may be used to widen the upper palate, encourage the jaw to grow properly and create space to allow teeth to move into their proper positions. This early treatment might decrease the need for more invasive treatments in the future, such as surgery.