Do My Teeth and Bite Affect My Airway?

What is most important thing to put in your body?

1) Protein

2) Carbohydrate

3) Fat

4) Water Oxygen

5) Minerals   

Lovely young lady, with underdeveloped jaws and airway,
An AGGA being placed to help her growth and development
Surgery and Extractions avoided

One thing we need more than anything else is oxygen, we can’t live more than 3 minutes without it.  We will do whatever it takes to get oxygen in our bodies. The best oxygen is breathed in through the nose, however, if there is something inhibiting our nasal breathing we revert to mouth breathing.  Mouth breathing is hugely detrimental in several ways.

These 3D scans show how the overbite closed her airway and how with a fixed TMJ Orthotic in place the airway is open.  In essence, the overbite pushed the jaw backwards which pushed the tongue to close the airway.  This patient was a previous orthodonitc patient who had 4 bicuspid teeth extracted.

overbite closing the airway on a mouthbreather
overbite closing the airway on a mouthbreather

Bite corrected which opens the airway. Patient can now breath nasally
Bite corrected which opens the airway.
Patient can now breath nasally


Mouth breathing will alter the jaw development, tongue posture and facial growth as well. When these changes are occurring, often patients will start to posture their head forward to open the airway, which in turn can cause neck pain and evidently back pain as well.

There are many reasons people resort to mouth breathing.  A few are:

1) Allergies

2) Tongue Tie

3) Tonsils and Adenoids

4) Asthma

5) Bad Bites

6) Underdeveloped jaws

7) Sleep Apnea or snoring

8) Bottle feeding as an infant

In many cases with mouth breathing at sometime in ones life, the tongue cannot stay on the roof of the mouth, as the mouth is open. The driving force for forward growth of the face is the tongue. This can and does cause lack of development of the upper jaw and nasal complex, which further makes it harder to breath and corrupts the jaw growth process, which in turn can cause TMJ pain and sleep apnea.

All these factors can lead to oral facial defects, flat faces, overbites and underbites.

Too many times patients are advised to do orthodontics, surgery, or even be placed on medications to try bandage these problems without addressing the true cause of the problems.These cases should not just be aesthetic but should address the jaw joints, airways, and cervical issues.

A positive note is that it is possible to correct these issues in adults and children!  Jaw development can be done at any age and does affect the airway. From Anterior Guided Growth Appliances to Orthodontics to Non-surgical facelifts in dentistry, airway and facial pain should be addressed.  Myofunctional therapy is an additional critical treatment to retrain the corrupt tongue posture and breathing for health.  This can also help change ones speech issues.

If you have questions regarding TMJ Pain or Misaligned Bites, please feel free to call our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF, FIAPA, 713-668-2289



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