What do teeth have to do with airway and healthy living? For years orthodontics has been about straight teeth. The game is changing, more and more of the profession are recognizing that simply straightening teeth by retracting teeth with orthodontics, appliances that only move teeth, and only looking at teeth. What is missing?
Jaw Development and Controlled Arch Orthodontics
Most conventional orthodontic treatment protracts or pulls teeth back to straighten them. This conventional treatment can push the jaw joints posteriorly as well as cause a constricted airway. In many cases the patient may already have a constricted airway due to mouth breathing, tongue tie, or allergies. Mouth breathing is truly detrimental to jaw development and is not healthy for anyone. Of course, if you cannot breathe through your nose, you will have to breathe through your mouth. Mouth breathing most often cases narrow arches, overbites, or underbites.
Simply moving teeth without evaluation of essential parameters can lead to future TMJ issues, sleep apnea, premature wear on teeth and other issues. Of course, not all situations lead to this however, it is common and is being recognized more and more by the profession.
An assessment of orthodontic needs or TMJ disorders should include:
1) Airway assessment, making sure mouth breathing, lip seal, and nasal patency as well as size of the airway on films
2) Skeletal analysis
3) TMJ joint position
4) Cervical and postural analysis
5) CBCT scan
6) Look for midface deficiency in either the upper and lower jaw
There is much more than just teeth to be evaluated. Straight teeth do mean ones bite is healthy. Airway driven orthodontics such as Controlled Arch Orthodontics is committed to looking at the whole picture and not just teeth. The same applies for comprehensive full mouth reconstruction which is sometimes needed when airway driven orthodontics is cannot be utilized. Why would anyone use porcelain to restore teeth to the same misaligned bite that caused ones teeth to break and wear away?