Early intervention

Early action means better outcomes

Building a foundation of health from the start

We want to start seeing children in the office at the earliest possible age. We recommend your child’s first appointment between six months and three years old. During this period we will observe and evaluate your child’s jaw, dental arch, and face development.

If we diagnose an airway health issue, we will start treatment between 4-10 years old. Dental screening this early may feel unnecessary, but the sooner we identify and intercept a negative growth pattern or oral problem, the less invasive it will be to treat when the time comes.

Early intervention

Why start seeing
children so early?

Airway issues in children can have a range of long-term implications for their health, development, and quality of life. This is because airway issues, particularly when they occur in early childhood, can affect the development of the face and jaws, which in turn can impact tooth alignment and bite function.

Early observation and intervention allow us to provide minimally invasive treatments that promote proper growth while the jaw and mouth are still developing. It prevents future problems that are harder to fix and require invasive, costly orthodontic treatment down the line. The goal is to prevent long-term complications and improve your child’s quality of life.

Early intervention

What are the long-term implications of not treating

To avoid the risks associated with poor oral health and definitively diagnose problems, we like to see children in the office at the earliest possible age. Some of the most significant long-term implications of untreated airway issues include:

  • Dental and orthodontic problems: Airway issues can lead to abnormal growth and positioning of the teeth and jaws, which can cause crowding, malocclusion (bite problems), and other orthodontic issues like TMJ.
  • Speech and language delays: Airway issues can affect the development of the muscles and structures involved in speech and language, leading to delays or difficulties in these areas.
  • Behavioral and cognitive problems: Sleep-disordered breathing, such as obstructive sleep apnea, can cause disrupted sleep and reduced oxygenation, which can lead to behavioral and cognitive problems, including hyperactivity, poor concentration, and academic difficulties.
  • Cardiovascular and metabolic problems: Chronic sleep-disordered breathing has been associated with a range of cardiovascular and metabolic problems, including high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance.
  • Reduced quality of life: Children with untreated airway issues may experience a range of symptoms, including snoring, restless sleep, and daytime fatigue, which can have a negative impact on their overall quality of life and well-being.
Early intervention

What are the signs I should make an appointment?

Airway issues in children can manifest in a variety of ways, and the signs and symptoms can be different from child to child. Here are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate an airway issue:

  • Snoring: Frequent snoring or noisy breathing during sleep can be a sign of airway obstruction.
  • Mouth breathing: Children who habitually breathe through their mouths, especially during the day, may have an airway issue.
  • Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes children to stop breathing periodically during sleep. It can cause restlessness, nightmares, and daytime sleepiness.
  • Chronic coughing or throat clearing: Chronic coughing or throat clearing during the day or night may be a sign of airway irritation or inflammation.
  • Tooth grinding: Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is often associated with airway issues in children.
  • Crowded or crooked teeth: A narrow dental arch can be a sign of an airway issue, as the tongue may not have enough space to rest on the roof of the mouth, which can contribute to airway obstruction.
  • Behavioral or developmental issues: Children with airway issues may have difficulty concentrating, show signs of hyperactivity, and experience delays in cognitive or behavioral development.
Early intervention

What are the benefits of early intervention?

Early airway-focused orthodontic intervention can have significant long-term benefits for children, particularly in terms of improving their overall health and quality of life. Here are some of the key benefits of early airway orthodontic intervention:

  • Improved breathing: By addressing airway issues early, orthodontic intervention can help to improve breathing and reduce the risk of sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and sleep apnea. This can lead to better quality sleep, improved cognitive function, and better overall health.
  • Improved facial development: Orthodontic treatment can help to promote proper growth and development of the jaws, which can prevent facial asymmetry, reduce the risk of jaw joint problems, and improve the child’s appearance.
  • Reduced need for more invasive treatments: Early intervention can help to address orthodontic and airway issues before they become more severe, reducing the need for more invasive and complex treatments later on in life.
  • Improved oral hygiene: Orthodontic treatment can help to improve oral hygiene by aligning the teeth and making them easier to clean, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Improved self-esteem: By improving facial appearance and reducing oral health issues, orthodontic intervention can help to boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence.

From our patients

These guys are pros! They are great with kids, but that’s the easy part. They are excellent at identifying issues and developing a treatment plan that is more holistic than just Dr. Boyd himself. They are smart and innovative, and I am thrilled to have found them. They also do adult dentistry (different dentists), so I’m moving over too!

Dr. Kevin Boyd, MS, DDS

Board Certified Pediatric Dentist

Prior to receiving his specialty license in pediatric dentistry from the University of Iowa, he earned an MSc degree from Michigan State University in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. His graduate research interests centered around the impact of commercially-processed foods on dental health and body weight. His Nutrition background has served as a great foundation for the specialty practice of Pediatric Dentistry given that many oral health problems are often associated with unhealthy eating; dental caries (cavities) and early periodontal (gum) inflammation (gingivitis) are two of the most common problems associated with unhealthy snacking behaviors.

Dr. Boyd has extensive training and clinical experience in performing risk assessment, diagnosing, and treating very young children who present with non-self-correcting malocclusions with possibly-associated sleep and breathing difficulties.   

He lectures worldwide on the topics of Early Childhood Malocclusion (under 72 months), pediatric sleep breathing hygiene, and the newly emerging healthcare discipline of Evolutionary Oral Medicine, also often called Darwinian Dentistry.  

He is married and has two adult daughters. When not working, he enjoys tennis, skiing and sailing.