Deficiency of growth hormone is a widespread problem that affects more than just the height of a child. Normal levels of growth hormone are necessary for the normal growth and developments of your child’s teeth and jaws. The lack of growth hormone causes the growth of bones to lag behind which is evident in the child’s height. The deficiency of the growth hormone also causes a lag in the development of a child’s teeth and facial bones. For instance, in the absence of this hormone, it is common to keep the baby primary teeth longer than average, so the child may 10 -12 years old before losing any baby teeth. This can cause problems with eruption of the permanent teeth. These children are also likely to be missing adult teeth, which may require braces and implants, crowns or bridges.
Growth hormone has a strong effect on bone growth, including the bones of the upper and lower jaws. It is common to see a growth disorder of the jaws. The growth disorder is commonly seen as a small lower jaw or chin since the lower jaw seems to be more dependent than the upper jaw on normal growth hormone level. There are treatments, in most cases which correct the problems if the jaws are still growing. The treatments may involve plastic retainer- like devices, glued in metal spreaders or other devices and are usually performed by orthodontists or in children dentistry.
The orthodontist may determine that the jaws are in good shape and they only require braces. In this case they may wait to begin braces until most of all the teeth are present. If the differences in size between the jaws are too large for braces alone then, surgery may be needed later.
The teeth of the children with growth hormone deficiency may be softer than normal or not formed normally hence they can easily get cavities. For this reason it is important to visit a dentist/ children specialist at least twice a year for checkup and teeth cleaning. Fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses and tablets should be swallowed and plastic placed on top of the teeth sealants. This will enhance as smile in their faces hence they will be better able to deal with the other problems of growth hormone deficiency.