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Jaw/Airway Development & Teeth Alignment
Airway is key to life. Normal breathing is silent breathing through your nose. It is quiet and effortless. There are many components to having and/or developing a healthy airway and properly aligned teeth. They include:
- Eliminating or decreasing the severity of soft tissue obstructions (Lingual Frenuloplasty, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, weight loss with Nutritional Therapy, referral to ENT for nasal polyp, septum, tonsil and/or adenoid removal or surgery)
- Increasing airway volume (Palatal Expansion, Growth Guidance of maxilla and mandible via Functional Orthodontics or Vivos® Biomimetic Appliances),
- Use of traditional or non-traditional alignment techniques (Invisalign®, Healthy Start®, referral to Airway-Centric Orthodontist).
More information for these treatments found below.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
The primary purpose of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is to create an oral environment in which normal processes of orofacial and dental growth and development can take place, and be maintained. Therapy is concerned with the importance of oral rest posture, (referring to the proper resting place of the tongue in the oral cavity) which is against the palate, with the sides of the tongue contained by the teeth. This position provides the proper foundation for the growth and development of the entire craniofacial mechanism and guides a persons tooth eruption, craniofacial and airway development. Without proper development and function of the tongue, there is also improper development of nasal passages, the airway, as well as muscle and bone development. If the width of the upper airway is decreased due to abnormal development from tongue placement, there is an increased chance of collapsibility of the airway. Adverse functional habits (that can be corrected via Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy) include thumb sucking, mouth breathing or a tongue thrust habit and can contribute to the unfavorable growth of the jaws.
Collaboration with ENT
In cases where there are serious allergies, swollen adenoids or tonsils, a referral to an otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist) must be done. Likewise, if there is any suspicion of an anatomical obstruction at any area within the nasal, oral, or pharyngeal airway, further evaluation by an ENT is warranted. At Revive, we believe in collaboration because it means achieving the best outcomes for our patients.
Functional Orthodontics, Palatal Expansion and Growth Guidance
We can treat the face and airway for optimal growth and development by remodeling the bones in the craniofacial region without the use of surgery with the help of appliance therapy. We are making a foundational correction to the structure of the airway with a minimally invasive process which uses no drugs, medication, or injections. We gently expand the upper arch space, which in turn increases the size of the nasal cavity. As the upper arch is widened, the lower jaw can move forward into a more natural position. As the jaw moves forward, it pulls the tongue and soft tissues, thus increasing the size of the airway and puts the TMJ in its most natural position. These treatments can also straighten teeth and improves the whole upper airway. By improving the upper airway through an increase in facial volume, a cosmetic benefit of facial feature balancing occurs.
A tongue-tie is caused by a thick, tight, or short string of tissue under (frenulum) or within the tongue that restricts the tongue’s movement and causes a functional issue. Collectively, tongue-ties and lip-ties are referred to as tethered oral tissues. They are often misdiagnosed or misunderstood, and they are quite common. The oral dysfunction induced by a short lingual frenulum or restricted tissue within the tongue, can lead to oral-facial anatomical malformations, which decreases the size of upper airway support. Such progressive change increases the risk of upper airway collapsibility during sleep. If the tongue is held down by a tie (or restriction), the tongue is then unable to rest in the palate, so functionally (even if the palate is broad) the only place left for the tongue to go is backward, which closes off part of the airway.
At Revive, a Lingual Frenuloplasty is completed via laser or scalpel/scissors under local anesthetic. For children and adults, orofacial myofunctional therapy is required before and after treatment to maximize functional outcomes. After full tongue-tie releases, children and adults are often found to sleep more deeply, snore less, and feel more refreshed in the morning. Often patients report better concentration and less hyperactivity as well.
If there is difficulty moving tongue from side to side, inability to touch roof of mouth, or inability to stick out tongue beyond the upper gums then these are obvious signs of a possible restriction. Other (less apparent) symptoms can be found after clicking the pictures above.
Invisalign® and Healthy Start®
At Revive Orofacial Therapy and Wellness Center, we believe that widening jaws and aligning teeth can positively affect health in both children and adults. Teeth that do not meet normally will lead to the following symptoms:
Narrow palate with a high arch
Mouth breathing and poor lip seal
Lower jaw well behind upper jaw
Lower jaw well in front of upper jaw
Lower jaw deviating to one side
Temperomandibular joint dysfunction
Problems with biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
Over crowded teeth-permanent teeth erupting out of their normal position
Poor function of the teeth
Headaches and various facial pains
Our functional orthodontic treatment involves aligning the upper and lower arches and teeth by use of appliance therapy including Healthy Start® , and/or Invisalign®. The long-term results of this combined type of treatment tend to be more esthetically pleasing, stable, and shortens treatment time.
We strongly advocate for early intervention when it comes to orthodontics and it's affects on airway.
Early treatment usually starts before the eruption of the permanent teeth or when the child has very few permanent teeth present. Our goal is to guide the growth of the upper and/or lower jaw to make adequate space for the eruption of all the permanent teeth. We feel that children should be evaluated by the age of four to see if there is a bone problem (orthopedic) or a tooth problem (orthodontic).
It is always less expensive to correct a problem when the patient is younger rather than wait for the problem to become more serious in the future.
Collaboration with Orthodontist
When a patient presents with severe malocclusion or other treatment challenges, we invite our Airway-minded Orthodontist colleagues to collaborate with us to find the best treatment solutions for our patients.