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Airway Orthodontics: The Link Between Orthodontic Treatment and Improved Breathing

Posted in Adults, Airway, British Columbia, Children, Clear Aligners, General, Invisalign, Orthodontics, Phase 1 Treatment, Phase 2 Treatment, Teens, Tips & Advice, Treatment Process

If you snore or your child breathes through their mouth when they sleep, you may be dealing with airway issues that can affect the health of both children and adults. Today, our BC orthodontists discuss how airway-centric orthodontics can help improve your breathing and health, and reduce the risk of complications. 

Airway-Centric Orthodontics

Did you know that orthodontic problems are not just confined to your mouth? Every part of your body is inter-connected, and orthodontic conditions can sometimes cause health issues throughout your body, especially with breathing.

Fortunately, orthodontic treatment has advanced in recent years to incorporate new technologies and treatment methods. Airway-centric orthodontics is based on the belief that those with well-developed jaws and teeth, and little to no gum disease or tooth decay, are often the healthiest. Conversely, misaligned teeth and abnormal jaw development can cause health issues that impact an individual's airway and breathing.

At My ORTHODONTIST, we take an airway-focused approach to treatment for both children and adults that allows us to effectively treat airway problems in patients that may have been addressed only temporarily or missed altogether.

Taking preventive measures to treat airway issues early can help us stay ahead of issues that may develop into larger problems. 

We look beyond the teeth to the face, nose, throat, tongue muscles and neck, and the rest of the body to:

  • Identify and treat orthodontic issues
  • Promote effective breathing 
  • Reduce risk of sleep apnea 
  • Aid natural jaw development and growth 

Airway Analysis in Orthodontics

Airway analysis (the clinical application of cephalometric) is the process of analyzing a patient's dental and skeletal relationship. During an initial orthodontic assessment,

We can conduct a myofunctional orthodontic exam to check for common indications of restrictions or blockages, such as abnormally positioned tonsils, lip tie, tongue tie or an abnormally sized tongue. 

3D X-rays may be done to gather precise data about the dentin and anatomy of the nose. This assessment can lead to recommendations for treatments that may improve the patient's health.

3D X-rays are used to study soft tissue, bone, facial abnormalities and other issues. With the help of this 3D imaging technology, we can show you an X-ray of your own airway anatomy and explain your condition and potential treatment options.

Symptoms of Airway Conditions 

Airway issues can contribute to seemingly unrelated health problems in both children and adults, and people of all ages can display symptoms. Here are a few symptoms of airway conditions to be aware of: 

  • Mouth breathing 
  • Migraines
  • Crooked teeth 
  • Protruding lower jaw
  • Teeth grinding 
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Excessive wear on the teeth 
  • Thumbsucking 
  • Symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
  • Dark circles under eyes ("panda" eyes) 
  • Snoring and sleep apnea 

While airway issues are fairly common in both children and adults, they can lead to serious medical conditions for patients of any age if left untreated. These complications can include diabetes, heart disease, cognitive impairment, stress and even stroke. 

Many patients with obstructive sleep apnea have abnormalities in the bony structure surrounding the airway, which early orthodontic treatment can correct. 

Treatment for Airway Issues at My ORTHODONTIST

Our orthodontists at My ORTHODONTIST can do more than fix your teeth; we can help restore your health and oral function, potentially help increase the quality of your sleep and reduce your risk of sleep apnea.

With early intervention for children, we can take preventive measures so any developing airway issues can be detected and addressed before they become a larger problem. This may also eliminate issues with teeth grinding and clenching during sleep or other habits associated with childhood sleep apnea.

Treatment often includes expanding the upper arch or upper jaw, advancing the mandible, or otherwise modifying the bony structure of the face to help manage the airway condition. We may also need to create space for adult teeth to emerge.

If you are experiencing any of the issues or symptoms mentioned in this post, consider using your favourite search engine to search "airway-focused orthodontics near BC" - our office will likely appear in the results.

We look forward to addressing any questions or concerns you may have about airway conditions, early intervention and orthodontic treatment in children and adults. 

Are you interested in learning more about airway-focused orthodontics? Schedule an appointment with our BC orthodontists at My ORTHODONTIST. We look forward to addressing your questions and concerns.

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