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This one is about: Lip Bumper/Lower Jaw

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Lip Bumper/Lower Jaw -- Comments by parents, Dr Liu, Dr Simmons

>> Hello,
>> I was just wondering, my daughter was going to get an appliance to help
>> move her lower jaw out--not sure what kind. She has Pierre Robin.
>       My son has Pierre Robin.  He has a lip bumper.  Looks like a
>retainer only it's tethered to his teeth in the back. He has had it since
>he was 8 (he's 11 now). Not sure of the mechanics involved. Could this
>be it?  He never had a problem with mobility that I know of. His jaw
>had grown out considerably since he was born. He went from lower lip into
>neck at that point. It has continued to grow.

I'll try to explain some of this and I'm sure Dr. Simmons can add more to this subject.

First, the "lip bumper". This is a device to keep the lower lip away from the lower front teeth. The lip is a very strong muscle and can apply a lot of force/tension against the lower front teeth. Also, some children pick up a habit of sucking in their lower lip and biting on it. It is visually evident that some children do this especially in the winter time. Their lower lip is chipped and very sore looking. By having this "lip bumper", you allow the lower front teeth to move forward because you remove the force/tension of the lower lip from being constantly against the lower teeth. The tongue is also a strong muscle which will help in moving these teeth forward.

Second, there are what we call "functional appliances" or "orthopedic appliances" which is used some times, to enhance and accelerate the natural growth capabilities that a person has. Often, I explain it to the parent and the child as a "large, overgrown retainer". It is worn pretty much 24 hours a day taking it out only to eat and to clean the appliance. I won't attempt to explain the mechanics on how these appliances work exactly. I'll leave it to your child's orthodontist to do so. I hope that this is helpful.

John R. Liu, DDS
Dental Consultant, Wide Smiles

Lip bumpers are orthodontic appliances - however they are designed to provide room for teeth, to let the teeth "grow out" some and hold the big back teeth back as the permanent teeth come in, very useful in crowding of teeth but  NOT indicated to "help move the lower jaw out". These appliances typically would engage both jaws (different ways depending on appliance) and result in the lower jaw being held or postured further forward than without the appliances in.  Pierre Robin affected kids differ greatly in how much the bottom jaw "catches up" in growth to the top jaw BY ITSELF.

Kirt Simmons DDS, PhD
University of North Carolina

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