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Jaw, airway and sleep clinic

The Children’s Mercy JAWS Clinic provides a single point of contact for patients with jaw deformities that often require the expertise of specialty providers from several fields. “JAWS” stands for jaw, airway, and sleep.

The clinic is staffed by team members from plastic surgery, pulmonology and sleep, orthodontics, and otolaryngology. Children who are seen in our clinic receive the benefit of care from all of these departments in one convenient visit. We see patients in ages ranging from birth to early 20s.


The JAWS Clinic treats patients with a variety of jaw-related conditions and deformities. One of the most common conditions treated is Robin Sequence, where the lower jaw is smaller than normal and the tongue is pushed farther back. This creates an airway obstruction and, often, a cleft palate.

Common conditions we see include:

  • Pierre Robin Sequence. A condition in which infants are born with a small lower jaw.

  • Stickler Syndrome. A genetic disorder in which a child exhibits prominent eyes, a small nose, and a receding chin- often children with Stickler also have a cleft palate.

  • Micrognathia. A condition characterized by an undersized (small) jaw.

  • Treacher Collins. A condition that affects the development of bones and tissue in the face- characterized by deformities of the ears, eyes, cheekbones, and chin. 

  • Hemifacial Microsomia. A congenital disorder that affects the development of the lower half of the face, most commonly the ears, the mouth, and the mandible- it can involve one or both sides of the face.

  • Achondroplasia. A genetic disorder that results in dwarfism.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A condition in which breathing stops involuntarily for brief periods of time during sleep.

  • Crouzon Syndrome. A genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones. The early fusion prevents the skull from growing normally.

  • Pfeiffer Syndrome. A rare genetic disorder causing premature fusion of certain skull bones as well as bones in the hands and feet.

  • General jaw concerns. This may include overbite and underbite. Overbite is the overlapping of the lower teeth by the upper teeth, underbite occurs when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth.

  • Maxillary or Mandibular Dysplasia. Underdevelopment of the maxillary or mandibular bones in the face.


Inside Pediatrics: Hallie's Story

Newborn Hallie can’t breathe well because her jaw is malformed. Learn how innovative 3D printing technology reduces her time in the operating room.

Pierre Robin Sequence: Kaleb's Story

Kaleb Ebrecht has Pierre Robin sequence, a genetic condition that causes a small jaw and breathing problems. But thanks to surgery to lengthen his jaw at Children’s Mercy, Kaleb is breathing easy.

Meet Kaleb
A child receives care in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery unit at Children's Mercy.

Treacher Collins Syndrome: Makayla's Story

Maykayla Hainline has Treacher Collins, a rare syndrome that affects development of her ears, eyes, cheekbones and chin. The Children’s Mercy JAWS Clinic ensures she sees all her specialists at one appointment.

Meet Makayla
A patient receives care in the JAWS Clinic at Children's Mercy.