Is your Child’s Face Developing Normally?

Is your Child’s Face Developing Normally?

What if your child’s face is not developing normally? And How to recognise the signs and symptoms of poor facial growth?
This article will highlight the symptoms to look out for in your children, and let you know what early intervention techniques could prevent multiple health issues in the future!

We all love our children and want the best for them. As a Dentist and parent myself I watched my children being born and then had to muddle my way through the early growing years of sleepless nights, dirty nappies and gooh and ahh at babies first words.

Children grow up so quickly and when they throw out those beautiful smiles at us we often see a natural facial resemblance to a parent or relative. A childs face is growing and developing fast, making room for all the structures that lie behind it. We assume that Mother nature will nourish our child as God intended.

However while some children may grow and develop good facial bone structure and have plenty of room for all their teeth, it is now rarely the case in our modern world of soft processed foods and adopted mouth breathing patterns.

It is well documented that our ancestors who ate traditional foods( free from sugar) and were breastfed grew to have splendid facial form with broad dental arches and free of cavities.

Why has this picture changed so rapidly especially over the past few hundred years. As a dentist I often see children with no cavities but rarely see a child with good facial form and in fact it is now normal to see children with crooked or crowded teeth !

Why is it Important for a Child to develop good facial form?

Children who develop good well balanced faces have:

  • An Attractive Face
  • Good Airway ( no sleeping issues etc)
  • Straight teeth
  • Balanced Jaw Joints

Generally Healthier all round A child with Poor Facial Form may have

  • Less attractive face ie long, lower jaw behind upper or lower jaw ahead of upper jaw
  • Breathing issues ie snoring, restless sleeper, nightmares, bed wetting, asthma, allergies, ENT problems
  • Crooked or Crowded teeth
  • Clicking jaws or Teeth grinding
  • Poor health, often sick and may have learning difficulties

How do we recognise if our child’s face is not developing normally?

Children’s faces are growing and developing quickly, by the time the child is 5 years old the face is 70% grown, by age 12 the mid-face is 100% grown. So the “window for intervening” if growth is not proceeding normally is short !

Some signs and Symptoms that may indicate your child’s facial growth is not proceeding normally:

Percentage of full facial proportion at various ages

5 years
8 years

Why would we wait for 90% of a deformaty to be established?

Check for these symptoms

  • malocclusion
  • lip tie
  • high valut
  • narrow palate
  • sleep issues
  • SBD etc

Also we need to look at:

  • Allergies
  • Number of times the child is on Antibiotics
  • Ear Nose Throat Infections…How often they get these?
  • Does your Child Snore?
  • Does your child sleep with the Mouth Open?
  • Any signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
  • Fainting episodes • Energy level of child? Hyperactive or Lethargic?
  • Attention span • Eating pattern • Bed Wetting • Bed movement
  • Sleep terrors
  • Non-Nutritive sucking habits

Some other images to look out for:

Percentage of full facial proportion at various ages

The Effect Of an Open Mouth Posture on Facial growth (No treatment):

Measuring Technique

Here is a Simple little check or Measuring device:

Explanation: If any of the above list has ticked a few boxes re your child ,then it is important to bring your child to a Dentist or Orthodontist who is trained to deal with the problems of Poor facial growth. He or she may be able to advice you ,on the best course of treatment appropriate for the age of the child.