Whenever we meet with our younger patients there are other things DentArana looks at besides their teeth. It is important to check that they have, what we at DentArana call, The Big 3. If there is breakdown in any of The Big 3 then an abnormal growth pattern may be established which can lead to jaws not developing correctly and crooked or overcrowded teeth.
1) Breathing through the nose at least 80% of the time
We have noses to breathe through. Breathing through our mouths long term is not healthy. The function of our noses is to warm, humidify and filter the air before it enters our lungs. For our younger patients they spend a high proportion of their 24 hours of the day sleeping. If they are not breathing through their nose during this time their tongues will be sitting low in their mouths and not resting on the roof of the mouth (palate) where they should be. This can lead to abnormal growth of the upper jaw (maxilla). If a child is not breathing through the nose, the air pressure when breathing in is different to the air pressure when breathing through the nose. This affects how the various bones in the skull develop and grow. Mouth breathing can lead to increases in the size of our adenoids and the structures inside of our noses called turbinates swelling. This can make nose breathing even more difficult. Occasionally we need the help of an Ear Nose and Throat surgeon to assess what is taking place with these structures otherwise the success of our treatment may be compromised.
2) Tongue should be sitting in the roof our mouth
Our tongues are very important in the swallowing process. Ideally, tongues should be touching the roof of our mouths during swallowing and when we breathe through our noses. During swallowing our tongues exert an outward and forward force which is compensated for by the inward force of our cheeks and lips. Correctly positioned tongues are vital to produce healthy development of our palates, jaws and teeth.
3) Lips should be together at rest and swallowing
If our lips are not touching together when we are resting this can often be a sign of mouth breathing. If our lips are apart on swallowing then our tongues are forming the seal at the front of our mouths which is called a tongue thrust. If the lower lip is trapped under the top teeth each time we swallow this can lead to the upper teeth becoming angled forwards and the lower teeth angling backwards. If the lips and tongue are not working together correctly not only can this have an effect on how our teeth grow but also forcing our jaw joints into a less than healthy position.
It is important to assess what is the cause of this and treat the cause not just the effects that abnormal growth has or is producing. The purpose of our treatment at DentArana is to establish The Big 3 and then design a plan which allows us to correct any abnormalities which may have been caused and re-establish normal facial growth as early as is possible.