We want to help you feel more comfortable by sharing what to expect from your appointment at Children's Mercy.
At your first visit, you will meet with each of the JAWS Clinic professionals to evaluate your child's needs and create a treatment plan all together. This “one-stop” consult allows you to see all the specialists your child might need in one visit, including ear, nose and throat (ENT), pulmonary and sleep medicine, orthodontics and plastic/oral surgery.
Our goal is make the process as convenient as possible for your family, while ensuring all the specialists can provide valuable input on your child’s treatment plan.
Evaluations and testing
For most children, identifying the best treatment plan begins with a thorough physical and craniofacial exam, airway evaluation, imaging of the facial bones, 3D photos of the face, dental impressions, and a sleep evaluation. If your care team needs any further evaluations or follow-up testing, we’ll help you get those scheduled.
The ENT surgeon evaluates your child’s airway for potential sources of obstruction. This evaluation involves a clinical exam and, in some cases, endoscopic examination in the operating room.
If your child has obstruction (blockage) anywhere in their airway, sometimes surgery can help remove blockages and improve their ability to breathe. Surgical procedures may include procedures such as tonsillectomy, tongue base reduction, contouring of the upper part of the voice box (called supraglottoplasty), among others. In other cases, jaw surgery may be a consideration to enlarge the airway.
Children with craniofacial problems are more likely to have sleep apnea. A sleep study can help the JAWS Clinic team determine if there is any obstructive apnea or other sleep-related disorder, and how severe it is. From there, the team can help you find the best course of treatment, which can include medications, CPAP therapy, surgery, and/or orthodontic care.
The JAWS Clinic team can make a model of your child’s facial bones using a 3D printer. This allows us to determine which strategies are the best approach to help relieve problems with breathing, chewing, and sleeping.
We will also work with your family to create a facial appearance and aesthetic that feels best to you and your child.