What is a Narrow Jaw?

It is a condition where the upper jaw is significantly narrower than the lower. 

Signs of a narrow jaw include crowding on the upper front teeth and/or the side and back teeth biting inside of the lower teeth. 

A smile in a narrow jaw appears narrow rather than broad. Spaces may also be seen on the side of the smile, instead of  where 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. This may cause a child to breathe through their mouth, snore at night or wake up with a dry mouth due to mouth breathing.

Heavy mouth breathing can change the way a child’s jaw grows, also causing a smaller lower jaw and an overbite naturally worsening. It is also one of the main reasons why the upper teeth appear crowded.

There is a time frame 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 children: Fixed or removable upper expander, sometimes a lower expander is placed.
  • In early to mid teenagers: Upper expander, although it is beneficial for an upper narrow jaw to be treated earlier.
  • In late teenagers to adults: An expander may not be suitable. Correcting a narrow upper jaw will usually involve surgical jaw widening. Alternatively, we may accept the jaw size and straighten the teeth only. This can still have a significant improvement in one’s smile. 
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