Children’s airway focused orthodontic treatment

Airway Focused Plymouth, MN Dentist

Have you ever been told to “wait and see” and found out that waiting isn’t always better? That phrase is still commonly said by many healthcare professional who see children even when they hear of clues that point to an airway related breathing problem. We now know that early treatment of underdeveloped upper and lower jaws is much more predictable and successful compared to waiting until very little growth potential remains in teenagers. Life Smiles focuses on treating children between the ages of 4 and 10 years of age to develop their jaw, to promote a healthy airway. Some signs of an underdeveloped airway include:

  • Crooked teeth or bad bite

  • Narrow and long face

  • Tongue-tie

  • Snoring

  • Restless sleep

  • Teeth grinding

  • Mouth Breathing

  • Eye-shiners or dark circles under eyes

  • Learning difficulties


  • Bed Wetting

  • Allergies

  • Asthma

  • Delayed Speech

  • Night Sweats

  • Agression/defiance/bullying

  • Receded Chin/Jaw

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Restless Sleep

  • Nightmares or Night Terrors

  • Anxiety Attacks

  • Swollen tonsils and adenoids

  • Stunted Growth

Before a treatment plan unique to each child is developed, a comprehensive dental and airway focused exam is completed. This exam includes measurements of jaw growth, evaluation of function of the tongue, assessment of breathing, a thorough health and sleep history, Photos, often times 3D films, a sleep screening or sleep study. A treating OT, PT, SLP, OMT reports are often consulted with. After sleep data and radiology reports from the 3D films are received, a phone consult with Dr. Geisler is scheduled. Often times we bring in other healthcare professionals because problems are multi-factorial with referrals. Examples of professionals that are frequently referred to include, but are not limited to:

  • Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist

  • Allergist

  • Chiropractors

  • Physical or Occupational Therapists

  • Pediatrician

  • Otolaryngologists

  • Sleep Physicians

  • Nutritionists

  • Functional Medicine doctors

  • Naturopaths

The timing of early interceptive orthodontic treatment, also called “Phase I treatment” in the orthodontic world will depend on the individual and family situation. The types of orthodontic treatment plans very, as there are different methods and appliances to suit the patients. Oftentimes, a tongue tie release is recommended for a restricted lingual frenum (a.k.a. Ankyloglossia). Our practice want the best results, so we don’t just “snip” a tongue-tie. If you are looking for comprehensive care of your child’s airway, Life Smiles is a practice that will fit you!

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