Research out of the University of Washington indicates that facial asymmetries, crooked teeth, and other bit alignment issues may be important indicators of past and future mental and physical health concerns. These studies are still in their early stages, but as the research continues, there seems to be mounting evidence in support of this theory. While early orthodontic treatments may not undo a stressful childhood or prevent future struggles with chronic illness, they can relieve undue strain on the smile and improve oral health. Keep reading to learn more about facial asymmetry and how it may help dentists and medical professionals better understand how to work with patients, especially nonverbal infants and children, during dental care.
1 – Asymmetric Facial Shape Points to Stressful Birth
Infants and children who have asymmetrically shaped heads may have experienced an especially traumatic birth, and in some cases, this can lead to the infant struggling with daily stressors. For example, when the infant is hungry, thirsty, or needs changed, they may cry louder or longer or take longer to relax following the stress. Treating these infants with patience and a gentle touch is essential to keep them relaxed and healthy.
2 – Backward Biting Indicates Childhood Stresses
Children who bite back and/or hold their jaw and chin in toward the body may have experienced excessive stress during childhood. These biting problems can continue into adulthood and lead to series orthodontic issues and difficulty breathing, speaking, and chewing without discomfort.
3 – Lower Face Asymmetry Indicates Future Diabetes or Obesity
One of the most startling discoveries out of the University of Washington research was a connection between lower face asymmetry and an increased risk for chronic illness, especially diabetes and obesity, later in life. While the underlying cause of this relationship remains unclear, the early results point to some connection between the two. It’s also unclear whether or not the treatment of lower face asymmetries will reduce the risk for future chronic illness.
Meet Dr. Mercke
At the Marietta dentistry practice of Caitlin Glen McDonald Mercke, MS, DMD, we offer early orthodontic interventions to help kids avoid damage to their smile and accelerate future orthodontic treatments. The Elite Dentistry team is dedicated to staying at the forefront and in the know about all the latest dental studies, so please don’t hesitate to ask if you read anything you find interesting. We’re always happy to talk to you about how new dental treatments, materials, and technologies might be available in our Marietta dentistry office. If you need to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We look forward to seeing your smile!