What is a Narrow Jaw?

This refers to a condition where the upper jaw is narrow.

Some signs of this are upper crowded front teeth and/or the side and back teeth biting inside of the lower teeth, on one or both the right and left sides.

With a narrow jaw,  the smile appears narrow rather than broad and spaces can be seen on the side of the smile, rather than where the teeth should be.

Why does a Narrow Jaw need to be corrected?

The upper jaws are connected with the nose and in children with narrow upper jaws, the nose passage is smaller. A common reported problem from parents, is their child tends to breathe through the mouth, or snore at night, or wake up in the morning with a dry mouth due to mouth breathing.

Narrow jaws can be one of the causes of heavy mouth breathing- which in a child, can change.

  • the way their jaws grow, causing a small lower jaw and an overbite naturally worsening.
  • It is one of the main reasons why the upper teeth appear crowded.

There is a window of time where the upper jaw bones and their connections have not hardened in a child and early teen, where the upper jaw can widened effectively without surgery.

What are the treatment options?

  • In a child, treatment usually is a fixed or removable upper expander. Sometimes, a lower expander is placed.
  • In an early to mid teen, an upper expander would still be successful, although the more narrow the upper jaw, the better it is to be treated earlier.
  • In a late teen, an expander would have much more teeth movements than upper jaw widening. An orthodontist would discuss what this means for your smile and bite correction.
  • In an adult, correcting a narrow upper jaw usually involves surgical jaw widening.  Sometimes, we may accept the jaw sizes and straighten the teeth only, which can still have a significant improvement in one’s smile.
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