Help Your Child Breathe Easy at Night with Ideal Jaw Position

If your child snores or experiences obstructive sleep apnea at night, appliance therapy can be an effective treatment. It’s a noninvasive approach. Your child puts in a device similar to an orthodontic retainer before going to sleep. It helps their airway stay open. Plus, they can function like orthodontics, straightening teeth or keeping them from getting crooked.

To learn whether appliance therapy is right for your child, please contact a local ASAP Pathway dentist today.

What an Oral Appliance Can Do

Oral appliances can perform two main functions for your child:

  • Hold the airway open
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for orthodontics
  • Encourage proper growth of palate and jaw

The main function of oral appliances is to help your child breathe properly at night. It does this by holding your child’s airway open while they sleep.

Oral appliances can also encourage your child’s teeth to come in straight. This means they might not need orthodontics later, or, if they do, they might not need as much.

At the same time, an oral appliance can encourage the proper growth of a child’s palate and jaw. The force from the oral appliance will push outward, stimulating jaw growth. In addition, the appliances can perform an orthodontic function, keeping teeth straight and helping them avoid crowding.

How Oral Appliances Work

The airway from the mouth to the chest is mostly made up of soft tissue. The throat and tongue have only two bony supports above the chest: the jaw and the hyoid bone. Because the hyoid bone isn’t connected to any other bones its function is limited. This leaves the jaw as the major bony support of the airway.

When your child lies down to sleep at night, the muscles that hold the airway open during the day relax. Gravity can then pull the airway closed.

Oral appliances move the jaw so that it can effectively hold the airway open, even if muscles relax and the tongue falls backward.
At the same time, the forces on the appliance push the teeth outward, which encourages the growth of the palate.

Common Oral Appliances

There are many different oral appliances available. Here are some of the ones used by ASAP Pathway dentists.

healthy start oral applianceHealthyStart

HealthyStart appliances are a custom-designed series of clear plastic aligners that encourage your child’s development while holding their airway open. The goal is both to improve breathing and avoid the need for braces later in life.

monoblock oral applianceMonoblock

Monoblock appliances are a class of treatments rather than a specific brand name. This type of appliance consists of a single piece that fits between the upper and lower jaws, holding them in an ideal position. Simple, sturdy construction often makes this a good choice for children, who can be hard on their appliances.