Development of craniofacial and dental arch morphology in relation to sleep disordered breathing from 4 to 12 years. Effects of adenotonsillar surgery

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2010 Feb;74(2):137-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2009.10.025. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


Objectives: To study the development of craniofacial and dental arch morphology in children with sleep disordered breathing in relation to adenotonsillar surgery.

Subjects and methods: From a community-based cohort of 644 children, 393 answered questionnaires at age 4, 6 and 12 years. Out of this group, 25 children who were snoring regularly at age 4 could be followed up to age 12 together with 24 controls not snoring at age 4, 6 and 12 years. Study casts were obtained from cases and controls and lateral cephalograms from the cases. Analysis regarding facial features and dento-alveolar development was performed.

Results: Children snoring regularly at age 4 showed reduced transversal width of the maxilla and more frequently had anterior open bite and lateral cross-bite than the controls. These conditions persisted for most cases at age 6, by which time 18/25 had been operated for snoring. In most of the cases, surgery cured the snoring temporarily, but their width of the maxilla was still smaller by age 12-even when nasal breathing was attained. At age 12, the frequency of lateral cross-bite was much reduced and anterior open bite was resolved, both in cases and controls. The children who snored regularly at age 12 operated or not operated, showed a long face anatomy and were oral breathers (this applied even to those who were operated). The seven cases who were not operated and the five who were still snoring in spite of surgery at age 12, did not have reduced maxillary width as compared to the controls.

Conclusion: Dento-facial development in snoring children is not changed by adenotonsillar surgery regardless of symptom relief. If snoring persists or relapses orthodontic maxillar widening and/or functional training should be considered. Collaboration between otorhinolaryngologist, orthodontists and speech and language pathologists is strongly recommended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Dental Arch / abnormalities*
  • Humans
  • Malocclusion / epidemiology
  • Mandible / abnormalities
  • Maxilla / abnormalities
  • Mouth Breathing / diagnosis
  • Mouth Breathing / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • Snoring / diagnosis
  • Snoring / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tonsillectomy* / statistics & numerical data