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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can a child grow out of enlarged tonsils & adenoids?

    My 4 year old son is a mouth breather and has been seen by an ENT 6 months ago. I was told that he had moderately sized tonsils and adenoids and this was the reason for his mouth breathing and snoring. I was told that he didn't want to do surgery and wait to see if he grew out of it.

    If the operation was to go ahead would this automatically make him breathe through his nose or does this behaviour still need to be taught?

    His mouth breathing has also led to some dental/orthodontic work with arch expansion and a Myobrace trainer being suggested as he has developed a cross bite?

    Not sure which is a better option, the dental fix to the mouth breathing to reduce size of adenoids etc or the surgical option (i.e. would the surgical option assist to fix the dental issues by automatically making him a mouth breather?).
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 5


    Dr Jason Roth

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    ENT and Facial Plastic surgeon with a special interest in adult and paediatric ENT problems, rhinoplasty, facial plastic surgery, nose and sinus disorders. View Profile

    If the operation was to go ahead would this automatically make him breathe through his nose or does this behaviour still need to be taught? 
    - Generally children who have their obstructed nasal airway corrected at a young age automatically learn to breathe through their nose very rapidly. Unfortunately if this blockage of the nose is left unaddressed until adolescence this is often too late and people tend to become lifelong mouth breathers at night by habit. 

    It is a well known fact that adenoid hypertrophy causing nasal obstruction in childern can lead to changes in dental occlusion (bite) and facial shape. This can be prevented if the adenoids are removed. 

    The surgical option should help to re-establish his nasal airway and hopefully prevent any further detrimental changes to his bite. 

  • 1


    Dr David McIntosh

    Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon

    David McIntosh is an Australian trained ENT surgeon with international experience. His areas of interest are paediatrics, nose and sinus disease, and providing access to … View Profile

    We work with dentists to offer wholistic care for children such as yours. I used to think surgery was the only solution but with advances with treatment such as Myobrace (are you seeing Rohan by chance?) I have far more options to recommend parents.

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