Pediatric Dentists are experts and identifying and treating the growth and development of your child. The more we understand about adult behaviors and conditions, the more we are realize that such issues can be avoided with childhood intervention. I often offer the analogy of a fruit tree to my patients. With proper attention and intervention, it can grow to be a beautiful, balanced tree that provides bountiful produce to be enjoyed by all. Without such care, the tree often becomes imbalanced as it gets bigger and bigger until eventually large braches are at risk of breaking in a storm or need to be removed at risk of injuring or losing the tree.
With early attention to dental growth and development, many adulthood issues can be avoided. For example, yesterday a young brother and sister came in with their father for cleanings in my office. I noticed that the son was fidgety at first and then coughing and sputtering through his mouth when he laid in the chair. Because he was grinding his teeth and mouth-breathing, I asked the boy if he ever wakes up coughing or gagging at night. Immediately, his sister in the next chair yelled “he chokes in his sleep!” After a short discussion, his father admitted to” always being tired and can’t focus during the day” because of sleep apnea, and the boy’s grandfather had heart arrhythmias from untreated sleep apnea. Fortunately for my patient, early attention with an ENT to evaluate his airway and in-office appliances to slightly expansion his oral airway will reduce his sleep apnea, allow him to focus during his school years, and improve his health into adulthood.
If you have concerns about your child’s growth and development, let your friendly pediatric dentist help. There are many small ways to make big improvements for the future.
-Keaton Howe DDS MS