When the word “orthodontics” hits your ear, it can bring to mind plenty of mental images: perhaps the dazzling white smile from a dental advertisement or maybe the stereotypical wires and brackets of traditional braces. But what is rarely associated with the word orthodontics is air or opening the airway—even if our mouths are crucial for our breathing.
Here at New Teeth Dental Solutions, we strive to provide each of our patients with the greatest dental care available. This commitment to your health makes us proud that our practice offers airway orthodontic treatments, to ensure you can breathe easy.
What Is Airway Orthodontics?
Typically, orthodontics focuses on correcting any irregularities that occur with the teeth or can be found in the jaw. Bracketed braces are used to treat these irregularities (though the success of the Invisalign clear braces is gaining more and more popularity) by realigning the teeth and jawbone.
Airway orthodontics takes a similar approach. Your jaw and teeth can certainly disrupt a healthy airflow, but so can the soft tissue of your mouth like your tongue or palate. With thorough analysis and the right dental appliances, an experienced airway dentist like those at New Teeth Dental Solutions can resolve these issues, and give you proper airflow and a healthier lifestyle!
Airway centered orthodontics is one of Dr. Kalli Hale’s greatest passions in dentistry. She treats literally hundreds of kids per year to correct the underlying craniofacial issue, versus just “straightening their teeth.”
The goal within our orthodontic treatments is to make sure your child’s upper and lower jaws are developed in a way that is conducive to nasal breathing, tongue function, and proper airflow. We very much care about the beautiful alignment of the smile, but that always comes after proper dental arch development.
We use clear aligner therapies at New Teeth Dental Solutions for many reasons, but most importantly because of the ability of the periodontal ligament (PDL) surrounding the teeth to be able to “relax” intermittently when the trays are removed. This is essential for tooth movement and bone growth. We also notice a much reduced decay (cavity) rate among our young patients due to improved hygiene ability.
Issues Caused by Little Airflow
Having a disrupted airflow means you are not getting the most out of each breath. Your body is working harder for its oxygen. Lower oxygen levels lead to a multitude of its own dangers, but the immediate risks include the following:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Gasping or choking at night
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat upon awakening
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain during the night
- Difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia or restless nights
- Oppositional defiance disorder
These are the likely indicators that adults might recognize in themselves, but like traditional orthodontics, airway orthodontics is most effective when working with younger patients as their jawbone and teeth are still developing. It’s always a good idea to be safe and get your child seen by an “airway centered dentist” like Dr. Kalli Hale.
Airflow Orthodontics, Sleep Apnea, and Pediatric Patients
While the majority of commercial products for sleep apnea target adults, over 100,000 children in the United States suffer from sleep apnea and, in many cases, it is caused by their developing teeth and jaw restricting proper airflow.
Many parents and adults would see the irregularities of the children’s teeth as a need for standard orthodontics and not even recognize the signs of sleep apnea.
Signs of sleep apnea in children are often termed behavioral issues, so if you take your child to a family doctor, they might not get the proper diagnosis. So you can know what to look out for, here are the symptoms of sleep apnea in children:
- Hyperactivity as adrenaline makes up for the lack of sleep.
- Chronic lethargy as the lack of sleep eventually catches up to them.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
- Noticeable, heavy breathing through the mouth instead of the nose.
- Rapid, shallow breathing.
- Bedwetting; a tactic of the body to wake your child up when they can’t breathe.
- Chronic nighttime restlessness, waking, or nightmares.
- Loud gasping or coughing during the night.
What Are My Airway Orthodontic Treatment Options?
Most importantly, that you are screened by a fully trained airway centered dentist! We at New Teeth Dental Solutions have acquired both the know-how and the technology to ensure you and your loved ones can receive the treatment you need for unobstructed airflow that provides restful nights and a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Hale uses a myriad of options for her patients to develop and grow their arches, align their teeth, and improve their sleep quality.
Our incredible examination technology includes digital x-rays, the dental cone-beam or CBCT scan (which gives us 3D x-rays), and an in-house digital scanner to assist in capturing images of the soft tissue. Using these technologies, our dental team can create your unique set of clear aligners.
Contact New Teeth Dental Solutions Today to Learn More
You can count on our practice to provide you with a wonderful range of treatments to attend to all of your dental healthcare needs, including airway orthodontics! Contact us today to schedule your consultation.
You can also learn more by following these links:
- Dr. Karen Bonuck: Kid’s Abnormal Breathing Linked to Increased Risk for Behavioral Difficulties
- Dr. Ben Miraglia: Connecting ADHD to Sleep Disordered Breathing
- Dr. Kalli Hale: ADHD & Bedwetting
- Right to Grow: The Story of Headgear
- Finding Connor Deegan — AAPMD
- The Airway Centered Dentist: Appliance delivery video, no talking.
- The Airway Centered Dentist: Explanation of “the tooth pillow.”
- Generalized explanation by Dr. Walker on pediatric sleep and why it’s so important.