Is My Child Growing Properly? How to recognize the signs of underdevelopment in the face while your child is still growing.

Did you know that more than 90% of your child’s head, jaw, and facial growth is complete by the age of 12?  It is normal for parents to want their child to grow up to be a happy healthy adult.  Children who can’t breathe and sleep properly exhibit chronic conditions and interrupted growth patterns. Sleep disorder breathing has become an epidemic in children.  When children are struggling to breathe while sleeping, “Fight or Flight” mode kicks in and the body is under stress secreting extra cortisol.  When we open the airway and the child is breathing through the nose and no longer struggling for oxygen, cortisol is reduced, HGH is released and we see healthier, happier kids. 

Early intervention, diagnosis, and treatment may improve your child’s overall health and wellness which may prevent future health problems. 


Early warning signs of a compromised airway: 

  • Crooked teeth or crowded teeth
  • ADHD 
  • Bed Wetting
  • Anxiety/depression 
  • Snoring
  • Behavior issues 
  • Fatigue
  • Obesity 
  • Mouth breathing
  • Swollen tonsils 

A compromised airway leads to mouth breathing, which can cause tonsils & adenoids to become inflamed and swell.  When the mouth opens to breathe, our tongue drops down causing the underdevelopment of the upper and lower jaws.  The tongue is considered “the builder of the jaws, mouth, and face”.  For example, when the tongue is placed properly in the roof of the mouth, it stimulates the jaws and breathing passages to develop correctly.  The child can then breathe well during sleep and avoid the above-mentioned problems. 

Most parents are planning on paying for braces.  By correcting the underlying developmental issues in the mouth and jaws, the need for braces is reduced or eliminated.   With early intervention to establish good oral habits, such as swallowing correctly and nose breathing, we can help guide a child’s growth.  This can save time and money by avoiding future orthodontic work. 

If your child is showing the early signs of an underdeveloped jaw, crooked teeth, mouth breathing, snoring, bed wetting, or even restless sleep you should seek out a consultation with a dentist specifically trained in early intervention of childhood growth problems.  A dentist who specifically deals with sleep breathing disorder is key to seeing the signs and finding the root cause of the symptoms. 

Case study 11-year-old boy  

Chief complaints:  

1.Bed Wetting 

2.Speech problems 

3.Sensory issues 

4.Mouth breathing 

Progress report:  15 months into treatment, he no longer wets the bed, speech has improved, sensory issues have reduced, and he breathes through his nose.   His mother is so happy with the results and has even seen him grow 4 inches and lose weight.  His treatment is not complete, but his health has already improved greatly. 

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Written by Dr. C. Michael Bennett, DDS

Dr. C. Michael Bennett is Double Board Certified in Dental Sleep Medicine and Craniofacial Pain and Director of Vivos Breathing Wellness Center in Orem.