Airway Orthodontics in Pittsfield
Treating Airway Disorders is Cutting Edge Orthodontics
Does your child breathe through the mouth instead of the nose? Have chronic ear or sinus infections? Poor school performance? Constant lethargy? Rapid shallow breathing? Bedwetting? Hyperactivity? Nighttime restlessness? Snoring? Difficulty focusing? Aggressive behavior? Impatience? Moodiness? Failure to thrive physically? AD/HD diagnosis? Airway Orthodontics has been shown to address these issues.
Berkshire Integrative Orthodontic’s unique approach to orthodontic care is not to simply give every patient braces. Our comprehensive holistic approach to your child’s orthodontic treatment does not just consider how to straighten your child’s teeth but to improve overall health and well being as well. Berkshire Integrative Orthodontics incorporates the latest research about the harmful effects of sleep disorders and airway blockages to analyze your child’s facial structure, nasal passages, sinuses, and jaw development as part of his diagnostic evaluation. We have found that the most effective orthodontic treatment works
In conjunction with treatment for conditions like improper swallowing, sleep apnea, snoring, and other airway disorders, Airway Orthodontics is redefining the field of orthodontics and dentistry!
Our core philosophy at the heart of Berkshire Integrative Orthodontics is that quality orthodontic treatment means that your child’s overall health is our #1 priority. Our treatment approach first considers if a child’s oral habits may be adversely impacting the body’s important breathing mechanisms. We often find that most parents are not even aware that this is happening, especially if interrupted breathing occurs during sleep.
Our goal is not only to give your child a bright new smile, but also to address any breathing issues that significantly impact orthodontic treatment and your child’s healthy development. This focus on possible airway disorders is also referred to as Airway Orthodontics.
What is Airway Orthodontics?
Airway Orthodontics is a relatively new medical subfield that studies the established link between optimal breathing and long-term health benefits. Certain oral habits and breathing obstructions can force your body to compensate for lower oxygen levels. Research shows that the body’s continuous struggle for adequate oxygen over an extended period of time can mean an increased risk for numerous health problems.
Why Is the Way You Breathe Important?
The way your child breathes can impact the way that oxygen gets delivered into the body’s systems. It is possible to breathe in a way that optimizes your overall health. However, it is also possible to breathe in a way that your body must compensate for lowered oxygen levels.
If your body often struggles for proper oxygen levels, many long-term health problems can arise. Potential issues can include a raised risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. In younger children, the development of their facial shape can also be adversely affected by chronic mouth breathing.
Early Treatment for Children is Key
Having seen the effects that breathing and oral habits have on a child’s developing jaw and face, our practice has become increasingly airway focused.
We have found Airway Orthodontic treatment is most effective in young children before their facial structures have fully developed. We find the most dramatic changes are achieved if treatment can be initiated from age 8 to age 12. Our goal is to improve your child’s breathing mechanics, muscle function, arch development, tongue posture, swallowing, and how these factors relate to snoring, sleep apnea, and other airway disorders. Achieving your child’s optimal facial development leads to a healthier smile AND a better quality of life.
Our State-of-the-Art Technology Examines Your Child’s Breathing as Part of Our Orthodontic Assessment
We use an in-office CBCT digital scanning technology that constructs a high resonance 3D image of your child’s nose, mouth, and throat tissues – to diagnose structural abnormalities, issues related to improper breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, and other airway disorders.
The CBCT diagnostic results often explain why your child is not sleeping well, is tired all day, has a constant runny nose or frequent ear infections, or even has trouble in school. We are often able to achieve significant improvements in young children by using a minimally invasive appliance called a Myobrace®. We utilize these appliances in conjunction with the braces to achieve tooth alignment and improved breathing/sleeping at same time. In fact, after just a few weeks into treatment, we often hear from parents that teachers have already noticed improved behavior, classroom attention and enhanced scholastic performance in their child.
Things to Watch For:
- Tooth alignment
- 65% of children have malocclusion (an incorrect bite) caused by irregular teeth
- When breathing, is your child’s mouth generally open or closed?
- Does your child breathe through their mouth or their nose?
- For correct nasal breathing, it is important that the lips are properly closed so that your child can breath easily through the nose.
- Jaw growth
- Does your child have an excessive overbite or underbite? Along with a deep bite, these issues may influence your child’s breathing and swallowing.
- When you child swallows, does their chin purse or their lips move?
- Does your child frequently choke or gag?
- Oral Habits
- Cheek or lip biting
- Grinding/Clenching of the teeth
- Thumb, finger or pacifier sucking
We are proud to offer the Myobrace® system as part of our integrative approach to orthodontics. This alternative orthodontic treatment utilizes myofunctional techniques to address poor muscular habits that can be the underlying causes of crooked teeth and applies light intermittent force to align the teeth. The Myobrace® appliance can even be used in concert with traditional orthodontics to assist with the correction of myofunctional issues of the tongue, lips or cheeks. Studies have shown that Myobrace® can speed up orthodontic treatment and support the creation of a balanced bite.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is airway-focused orthodontics?
Airway orthodontics is a more holistic approach to orthodontic treatment. Traditionally, orthodontics has been focused on the appearance of the teeth and jaw function; the mouth is essentially treated as if it is isolated from the rest of the body. Airway orthodontics acknowledges the connection between jaw development, teeth alignment, facial structures, and breathing. With proper treatment, impaired breathing can be improved by optimizing the airway. This improvement in breathing can have a significant impact on overall quality of life and well-being.
Can braces improve breathing?
Yes, braces can improve breathing, but not all orthodontists are trained in airway orthodontics. If you wish to improve your (or your child’s) breathing, it’s important to seek out an orthodontist who specializes in airway orthodontics, like Dr. O’Donnell and the team at Berkshire Integrative Orthodontics.
What is myofunctional orthodontics?
Myofunctional orthodontics is one of the tools we use in airway orthodontics to address oral habits that can cause crowding and jaw development issues which, in turn, affect breathing and speech.
Does Myobrace really work?
Yes, Myobrace is an effective treatment option for retraining improper breathing, swallowing patterns, and other habits. Once these are corrected, your child’s jaw and facial development will be able to reach its full potential.
How long should you wear Myobrace?
Dr. O’Donnell will let you know how long you (or your child) will need to wear your Myobrace appliance each day. For most patients, appliances are worn for 1 to 2 hours during the day, and then overnight.