Orthodontic treatments have long been the go-to solution for achieving a perfect smile and optimal dental alignment. But an emerging body of evidence suggests that traditional orthodontic approaches may have unintended consequences, particularly in the realm of normal breathing. While braces and other conventional methods effectively straighten teeth, they may inadvertently contribute to respiratory issues, impacting overall health and well-being.
Traditional orthodontic techniques often involve the use of fixed appliances, usually braces, to align teeth and correct bite issues. While these methods excel in achieving their primary goals, they may have repercussions for the respiratory system. The alignment of the jaw and the positioning of the tongue play crucial roles in breathing, and alterations to these structures through orthodontic treatments can disrupt the natural airflow. This can have particularly strong effects on adolescents, whose skeletal structure is still undergoing development.
Airway orthodontics is a specialized approach to orthodontic treatment that addresses the relationship between the airway alongside the development and alignment of the teeth and jaws. It recognizes the significant impact that the airway can have on overall health and aims to improve both dental and respiratory function.
The concept behind airway-focused orthodontics is that certain structural abnormalities, such as narrow dental arches, overcrowded teeth, or misaligned jaws, can contribute to restricted breathing and compromised airflow. These issues can lead to sleep-disordered breathing conditions like snoring, sleep apnea, and other health problems.
Traditional orthodontics primarily focuses on straightening teeth and achieving an aesthetic smile. But orthodontics for the airway takes a more comprehensive approach by considering the interplay between the airway, facial growth, and dental occlusion (a.k.a. your bite). It aims to address the underlying causes of airway obstruction and improve the overall balance and harmony of the face and jaws.
The treatment in airway orthodontics typically involves a combination of orthodontic techniques and interdisciplinary collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Dr. Hana Khan, our resident expert in airway orthodontics, works closely with specialists such as sleep medicine physicians, ENT doctors, and myofunctional therapists to diagnose and manage your airway-related issues.
Interested in learning if you’re a candidate for airway dentistry? Contact us today to learn more.