Commonly Asked Questions About Facial Development
What factors affect the development of my child’s face?
Your child’s face is mainly determined by genetics.
The airway affects the shape of the mid face and upper jaw during the preschool years. Mouth breathers develop a narrow upper jaw with crowded teeth. Those with good nasal airways develop nicely proportioned mid faces with adequate dental space.
Many things can interfere with normal facial development. Oral habits can interfere—like thumb sucking and use of pacifiers. Abnormal lip and tongue movements shape the face. Sleep position is known to be a factor. Trauma can affect the growth of the jaw.
The face is completed as the lower jaw completes its development in the teen years. Girls finish well before the boys.
How can I tell if my child’s face is growing normally?
This should be part of every child’s routine dental exam at the pediatric dentist’s office.
Can abnormal growth be corrected early to give my child a more normal face?
Yes. Early facial orthopedic treatment is very common.
For example, a narrow upper jaw with crowded teeth can be expanded to give a beautiful smile just as the permanent incisors erupt at age 6 or 7.
Another example is the child with protruding front teeth. The lower jaw can be lengthened and the protruding teeth can be retracted with simple orthopedic appliances well before all the permanent teeth erupt. The child is less prone to breaking his teeth and develops a radiant smile early in life.