Family Dentistry |2 min read


This blog will address what dental problems are caused by mouth breathing and what can be done to correct them.  The constant mouth breathing can lead to a forward head and tongue posture. The tongue is a strong muscle that often caused the front teeth to flare outward. Since the tongue is not enclosed in its proper place between the arches, the muscle forces of the cheeks dominate and cause the roof of the mouth to form in a narrow “V” shape rather than a normal wide shape. This will often lead to crowding of the teeth.  It is very important to first have medical treatment to eliminate the cause of the restricted airway. This might include treatment for allergies, infection or swollen turbinates, or could require surgery to remove the adenoids and/or tonsils. If not corrected the chance of relapse is very high for any dental treatment undertaken. Restricted upper airway can have a negative effect on the growth and development of the face and jaws. Most of the growth occurs before puberty. For this reason the earlier the correction is made, the easier the correction becomes. By age 18-20, bone growth and development is mostly completed and treatment becomes more difficult.  The most common treatment to correct the dental issues is through orthodontic therapy. Palatal expansion is utilized to expand the arches. Expanding the palate creates more space for the teeth and then other types of orthodontic treatment is used for tooth alignment. Because the top of the mouth is also the floor of the nose, the palatal expansion frequently improves nasal breathing to a degree.  Patients with restricted upper airway often also suffer from apnea concerns. This is a medical problems and needs to be addressed by the medical professional. There can be far reaching implications form the sleep associated symptoms, and treatment of the sleep, restricted airway issues is very important. The dentist is often able to see symptoms of restricted upper airway while preforming routine clinical examinations and are able to bring them to your attention.

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