Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 146–158 | Cite as

Orthodontic treatment in children to prevent sleep-disordered breathing in adulthood

  • Makoto KikuchiEmail author


The purpose of this article is to review human craniofacial growth and development, especially the growth of the mandible, to clarify the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) syndrome and craniofacial abnormality, and finally, to propose the hypothesis that negative pressure produced in the chest of the OSA child inhibits the growth of the mandible. Recently, the development of diagnosis and treatment of OSA syndrome has progressed rapidly; however, the prevention of OSA syndrome was merely seen. Craniofacial abnormality is reported as one of the causes of OSA syndrome. If craniofacial abnormality is determined only by genetics, it is difficult to manage the craniofacial skeleton to prevent OSA syndrome. The role of epigenetic factors on craniofacial growth and development is still controversial. However, if we stand on the functional matrix hypothesis, we can manage not only growth of the mandible but also the craniofacial skeleton as a whole. The author proposes the hypothesis that the negative pressure produced in the chest prohibits the growth of the mandible even if the patients have a capacity for growth and development; therefore, if this negative pressure disappears because of the removal of the tonsil and/or adenoids or by an orthodontic treatment to make a patency of the airway, the mandible may grow normally, and we can prevent or reduce a number of OSA syndromes in the future.


Obstructive sleep apnea Craniofacial growth and development Functional matrix hypothesis Negative pressure in the chest Growth of the mandible Orthodontic treatment Airway patency Prevention 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cosmos Center for Sleep Breathing DisordersNaritaJapan

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