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Pediatric Airway Treatment

Protecting your child’s jaw development and overall health.
Is your child growing well and developing ideally?

If you would like us to assess your child’s airway, growth, and development, please take a moment to review (but not fill out) the following questionnaire. Please allow your child to fall fully into a deep sleep and then go in to carefully observe them sleeping, keeping the questions in mind. Fill out the questionnaire and bring it with you for their assessment.

If you answered “yes” to any of the following questions, there is likely a problem with growth and development, particularly if it is coupled with oral indicators, examples of which can be seen below.

Does your child:
  • Breathe through their mouth, particularly when sleeping?

  • Wake with morning headaches?

  • Have restless (active) sleep, night sweats, or night terrors?

  • Wet the bed after age 4?

  • Exhibit behavioral issues like ADD/ADHD or aggression?

Do you see any of these in YOUR child?
An example of a tongue tie
Tethered oral tissues (tongue or lip tie)?
An example of a underbite that can have negative affects on your child's health
Underbite or cross bite?
An example of lack of spacing between baby teeth which can affect your childs airway growth
Lack of spacing between baby teeth?
Example of large tonsils that can negatively affect your childs growth and development
Large tonsils?

When you ask your children to see their teeth, they often put the edges together, masking their actual bite.

Notice how the back teeth are apart?

Example of the back teeth being far apart

Instead, ask them to bite on their back teeth. In this example, we asked this child to bite on her back teeth. We can see she has a severe underbite. This bite traps the upper jaw from growing normally, resulting in lifelong growth alterations.

Example of an underbite

Dr. Keith Gressell Can Help With Pediatric Airway Treatment

Creating happy, healthy kids who can breathe easier and smile freely.

Watch this video to know more about airway health!

Did you know that early and non-invasive growth guidance can help to avoid or treat many health issues? It can also promote the proper position and function of adult teeth, minimizing the need for braces. Some of the health issues early treatment can correct include:


  • Lower IQ

  • Aggressive behavior

  • Swollen adenoids & tonsils

  • Crooked teeth

  • Bedwetting

  • Dark circles under the eyes

  • Irritability

  • Low grades in math, science, and spelling

  • Chronically chapped lips

  • Chronic allergies

  • Mouth breathing

  • Daytime drowsiness

  • Restless sleep

  • Nightmares

  • Snoring

  • Frequent headaches

Dr. Gressell has extensive, advanced training to identify and help at-risk kids. Airway problems in kids and adults are largely undiagnosed (and misdiagnosed).

The new guidelines from the American Dental Association encourage earlier treatment for the correction of the pharyngorofacial (airway, face, and jaw) discrepancies as a prevention for the development of sleep disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea.

There can be a dramatic health and economic cost of not addressing growth problems early. Your complimentary screening will provide us the opportunity to utilize growth and development to correct or prevent serious health issues like obstructive sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing, which can lead to ADD/ADHD, metabolic syndrome, and others. When early intervention is not necessary, Dr. Gressell can carefully monitor growth and development, making sure things stay “on track.”

How Exactly Does Poor Airway Create These Health Disorders?
Go through our resources to get the information you need.

Improving Airway With Natural, Noninvasive Solutions

From functional orthodontics to myofunctional therapy, your children can grow and blossom to their true potential - just as nature intended.
Children with Myobrace and HealthyStart logos - a part of functional orthodontics
Functional Orthodontics and Orthotropics

Jaw development, teeth, and the airway are intimately connected. If you’re noticing your child has crooked teeth or any of the conditions in the photos on top of the above health disorders, we can help your child’s teeth and jaws grow properly while improving their quality of life through functional orthodontics and Orthotropics.

Functional orthodontics uses noninvasive methods through fixed and removable appliances to focus on the underlying causes of crooked teeth, allowing for natural growth and development. Dr. Gressell uses two providers:

Michelle who is our hygienist and a Myofunctional therapist trained by the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional therapy is a type of physical therapy for the mouth. It consists of specific exercises that target the muscles used for chewing, swallowing, speaking, and even breathing.

These exercises establish critical muscle memory to make your child’s treatment more stable and less likely for relapse. Plus, it helps keep your child’s airway open, creating proper breathing.

Our Myofunctional therapist, Michelle Werner is trained with the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy and has taken additional specialized training focusing on infants and toddlers to provide the appropriate exercises to ensure your child’s treatment is a success.

You May Have Many Questions About Pediatric Airway Treatment

Consult our FAQs below or give us a call (253) 857-6778.
  • How is pediatric airway treatment different than regular orthodontic therapy?

    If your child starts traditional orthodontic treatment by the age of 12, most of his or her jaw has fully developed, making it difficult to fit teeth into their proper positions in the jaw. Sometimes this can result in tooth extractions to make room for tooth movement.

    However, if we start treatment early, there’s adequate space in the jaw and we can guide the teeth to their proper positions – without braces. Your child’s teeth, jawbone, and ligaments retain a memory to keep those teeth in position and less likely to relapse into crowded and crooked positions. This makes treatment not only more comfortable, but much more stable, requiring less retention after treatment.

  • Is this covered by insurance?

    If your child is diagnosed with sleep apnea, there is a chance your medical insurance will cover the treatment. If not, dental insurance can cover the orthodontic portion of your coverage. It all depends on your provider.

    Don’t have insurance? We do accept CareCredit to help make payments more affordable.

  • Do I need a referral?

    No! Schedule a complimentary screening with our Gig Harbor dentist and we can recommend the best course of treatment for your child.

    Our dental office is located in Gig Harbor, WA, and serves many communities throughout the Pacific NW, including Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Purdy, Port Angeles, and Tacoma.

Schedule a Complimentary Screening Today - No Strings Attached
Finally, you can take control of your child’s development to a happier, healthier life.