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Dentistry/upper jaw not growing


My 5-year old granddaughter lost her 2 top (baby) teeth last year. Her dentist says the replacement teeth are in her jaw but are not coming down. She has a very long tongue which affected her speech. Speech therapy has helped, and the dentist thinks the therapist should now advise my granddaughter about keeping her tongue tucked behind her teeth when she goes to bed as this will help the upper jaw to grow more. Will this be sufficient? Can anything else be done to ensure her upper jaw does not continue to shrink? Would a mouth guard help?

First, you should understand that the delayed appearance of the upper incisors does not mean that the upper jaw is not growing or is actually shrinking. The growth of the jaws and the development and appearance of the teeth are two different processes and are frequently unrelated to one another.  Without seeing the actual xrays I don't what the actual problem is with your granddaughter, so I also cannot speculate on any treatment advice.  However, the suggestion advising "your  granddaughter about keeping her tongue tucked behind her teeth when she goes to bed as this will help the upper jaw to grow more" is not likely to help the situation.  I suggest you have your grand daughter seen by an orthodontist who may have a better understanding of the processes of oral growth and development.


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Dr. Randolph Myerson


Please limit your inquiry to questions about orthodontics (braces) and children's dentistry. I am both an Orthodontist and a Pediatric Dentist, having been trained in both of these dental specialty fields. Orthodontics is the dental specialty that treats problems of tooth, bite and jaw alignment using braces and removable appliances. Pediatric Dentistry is the dental specialty also known as dentistry for children, which deals specifically with the dental problems of this special age group from infants to adolescents. I am also experienced in Forensic Dentistry, the application of dentistry to law enforcement and identification using dental records.


I have been in the private practice of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry for over 20 years. Prior to that I served for three years on the Cleft Palate and Cranio-facial Reconstruction team at Children''s Hospital of Philadelphia and was an Assistant Professor of Dentistry at University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. I also served as a dentist in the U.S.Air Force, stationed at Andrews AFB in Washington, DC.

I am a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and a member of the American Association of Orthodontics, as well as a member of the American Dental Association and the Dental Society of the State of New York.

I received my BA in Biology from Frankin & Marshall College in 1969, and my dental degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1973. In 1978 I received both my Certificate in Orthodontics from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and my Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from Children''s Hospital of Philadelphia after completing a three year Teaching Fellowship in Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in 1978.

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