Children and adults should be able to comfortably rest their lips together or slightly touching when they are in a resting position.
When this cannot happen it may due to allergies, airway obstructions from enlarged tonsils and adenoids or a mouth breathing habit. When this happens the lower jaw is hinged slightly open as a way of maintaining the oral airway for breathing.
Over time, the lip incompetency can lead to speech errors and dental alignment.
A: Is the side view of a “long” face. The lower jaw is downward and in backward rotation
B: In this front view it is easy to see what happens to the lower third of the face which exposes the front teeth and makes lip closure strenuous. The result is that children will breathe through their mouth instead of their nose.
There are many examples of problems associated with facial-skeletal disharmony and medical problems. For example, individuals with narrow mouths and high palatal vaults often have narrow and compressed sinuses.
By expanding the mouth with expansion appliances, the sinuses widen and allow more efficient airflow. Other examples can be found with individuals who tend to have recessed, small weak chins. Oftentimes,the chins are recessed because of bad bite causing the lower jaw to bite too far back.
This can cause the jaw joints to impinge against the skull joint area called glenoid fossa. This condition can cause temporomandibular disorder, migraine headaches, popping and clicking of the joints, and many other symptoms. In severe cases, damaged jaw joints can lock preventing individuals to open their mouths normally.
Furthermore, when the jaw is recessed back, it can press against the throat area, which can cause airway obstruction in the throat. The inability to breathe efficiently can often cause individuals to suffer from sleep disorder/sleep apnea. Functional appliances can permanently reposition the lower jaw forward and allow more efficient airflow and proper oxygenation in the circulatory system.
Impact of mouth breathing
Causes of mouth breathing
Advantages of nasal breathing
Our team focuses on catching symptoms early and I completed the Airway Mini Residency program with the Airway Focus Dentistry and Airway Focused Orthodontics group and now partner with great dentists around the world.
Additionally, I am trained in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (links to OMT Page) and can identify, reduce and eliminate floppy, flaccid (soft, weak, lax, lack of normal muscle tone) lips that account for lip incompetence in individuals.
My therapy also helps with:
This combination helps reinforce the long-term stability in children that undergo orthodontics.
My Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy programs include:
1. Habit elimination therapy.
2. Exercises to improve nasal breathing and oral facial functions.
3. Teaching and promoting proper chewing, breathing, and swallowing.
4. Re-patterning head and neck posture problems.
5. Generalization and habituation of the new muscle patterns.
6. Emotional balancing
Parental involvement is very important to a child's success, and key to that success is a supportive environment that provides consistent encouragement and motivation necessary for positive and permanent change.