Does Sleep Disordered Breathing Influence Facial Form

Are you a mouth breather?  Is your child?  If so, you may want to read on and thank you for visiting us at Tower Dental Associates, Gainesville, FL!

One of the most controversial areas in orthodontics is the relationship between craniofacial form and breathing. This is very relevant because we do not  know how much the environment (e.g. breathing) influences the aetiology of malocclusion.  This area of research is becoming increasingly important as we search for treatments that correct functional problems. This recent, open access, paper sheds some light on this interesting area.

One of the lead investigators is Prof Stephen Richmond from Cardiff University, Wales. I had the pleasure of working with him in Manchester from 1984 – 1993. His major work has been in the development of measures and he has refined the index of orthodontic treatment need and invented the PAR index. I shared an office with him for  several years and his area of our office was always covered in piles of dental casts, papers and measuring devices, while mine had a completely clear desk. I still miss those vibrant days, but I do not miss the untidy office!

In this paper, they investigated the relationship between the prevalence of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) and face shape in a large sample of 15-year-old young people. They wanted to investigate this problem because SDB is a subtle disorder of childhood and it may have serious consequences. The prevalence varies between 2 to 16%. They provided an excellent literature which covered the subject very well and this is well worth reading.

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