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Dwarfism: Helping Develop the Mid-Face

Children who are born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, suffer from a genetic condition that only affects about one in 15,000 to 40,000 people, according to MedLine, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Aside from the most well-known symptoms of this condition, which include shorter stature, upper arms and thighs, children with this condition also may experience dental problems, sleep apnea and spinal complications among other health challenges.

One of the manifestations of dwarfism is mid-face hypoplasia along with a large cranium, prominent brow and suppressed bridge of the nose, which often causes serious breathing problems, sleep apnea and teeth crowding. This underdevelopment of the mid-face sets up crowding of the jaw and a very narrow airway. Children with dwarfism need extra care and attention in a proactive way to help develop and grow the jaw forward, because an underdeveloped upper jaw prevents the lower jaw from developing like it should, setting off a chain reaction of problems. This specialized treatment results in a child who can breathe better with a fully developed jaw and an improved bite, which leads to a healthier adult with a greatly improved quality of life.

If you can stimulate growth and correct the trajectory of growth during childhood, often the results far exceed any treatment that isn't begun until adulthood after development is complete. Developing the mid-face forward can correct and help avoid so many problems, not just from a dental perspective, but also from a breathing perspective. Understanding the facial development is important for the teeth, and this bigger perspective can help with overall growth and development in big ways.

If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about how Dr. Buck has helped patients of all ages improve their facial structure, bite and breathing, call us today at 206-316-8286. You can also visit our page on Special Needs Children, where Dr. Buck shares his story about his youngest daughter, Ruth, who has achondroplasia, or dwarfism.

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