In today’s culture, people are in a rush to get straight teeth as young as possible. Our office has seen children as young as six-years-old with braces. But when it comes to children, the focus should be on growing and developing the jaws and the face, ensuring the windpipe is not compromised – the frequent cause of sleep apnea. But when the patient is still growing, and their jaw development is restricted by braces, the child’s face is not able to grow forward away from the windpipe. If this does not happen the windpipe is compromised. Hello Sleep Apnea!
For millions of people, braces are, and have been, incredibly helpful in straightening teeth. All the photos here show mouths that are perfectly aligned. The midlines are perfect, the molar relationships are perfect, the overbites and the over jets are great, the dentists who treated these people did what they learned to do well. The braces did their jobs.
The photos here all share one thing in common. Each patient has sleep apnea. They all were missed as children. They all had signs and symptoms that we now know to pay attention to. It doesn’t much matter that your teeth are straight when you have to drop out of college or quit your job because you simply cannot handle it. The fatigue is too great. The anxiety is too crippling. The sense of impending doom makes you question your own sanity. I know. I’ve been there.
The problem is that we forgot what normal is. Ugly duckling is normal. Goofy looking gaps between teeth are normal in kids. When a house is built a solid foundation must be in place. Solid foundation here being well developed jaws. Rushing to have straight teeth at a young age practically insures defective foundation. Six straight teeth in the front do not represent health. They represent an illusion of health. There are rules for growth and development and wearing braces on your teeth during that precious time is not one of them. Rushing to have straight teeth at a young age practically insures a defective foundation.
The rules are simple: breathing through your nose, have your lips closed at rest, have your tongue resting comfortably in your mouth, chew your food well, be physically active.
There are appliances to help stimulate growth. That’s still needed. We just need not lose sight of what is normal.