Straight teeth are great, but they are part of a greater foundation of your jaws, facial structure, and more broadly, the whole body. Thoughtful, in-depth analysis of your or your child’s anatomy, physiology and neurology is required to accurately predict the outcome of treatment. Straightening teeth and making a beautiful smile is the easy part. Being sure that the final position of the jaws that carry that new beautiful smile is the tricky part. Many orthodontic treatment plans do not account for the breath, posture and spine, neurological balance and muscle function that are necessary to be a part of the whole-body wellness equation. However, it is also important to not overcomplicate the equation - many individuals have great overall structure without other wellness-related problems and are simply looking for straighter teeth, a better smile, or a bite that fits together a bit better, and for these individuals, a simple round of Invisalign or braces might just be what the doctor ordered!
The way the teeth and jaws are positioned and relate is a product of a combination of genetics, environmental factors, airway and breathing, and the function and position of the facial muscles and the tongue. Orthodontic treatment therefore must consider why the teeth and jaws are the way they are, as a part of identifying the problem and developing a treatment plan to fix the problem.
Orthodontics centered around breathing is part of the cure for children who snore, have apnea, or other signs of sleep disorders, and can prevent such problems in children who don’t. An astounding correlation of 70% of children who snore have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Children with OSA can be frequently diagnosed as having ADHD and placed on medication when in fact their problems are being caused by sleep deprivation. Dr. Newaz can evaluate the need to intercept the growth patterns that are developing from mouth breathing and airway obstruction, and further identify the right professionals to be part of an interdisciplinary team to address areas that orthodontics alone cannot. Children’s bodies are changing and can be guided to grow in the most favorable pattern: lips closed with open nasal airways. This provides the best opportunity for ideal balance, posture, internal wellness from the start.
Perhaps you had previous orthodontic treatment and lost your retainers or weren’t told you need to wear them for the long-term. Perhaps you have always wanted to broaden that smile, refine that alignment, or improve your overbite or underbite. Or, you just want to build your bite in a position that is more comfortable for your TMJ and facial muscles or are seeking for ways to breathe or sleep better. Ask Dr. Newaz if orthodontics would be right for you. As for airway improvement, novel therapies such as bone-anchored palate expansion (MSE) or other dental arch-development appliances in conjunction with traditional orthodontic approaches (braces or Invisalign) can be of some benefit or at the very least, supportive in helping improve your dentofacial anatomy. Collaboration with other professionals is often necessary, such as with the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon for jaw advancement orthognathic surgery, or the sleep physician to comprehensively assess sleep disorders, or the ENT physician to improve sinonasal airflow and function, among many others. It is important to know that while orthodontics is a great vehicle to improve smile/facial esthetics, bite, facial structure and some aspects of airway improvement, it is by no means the only way, and is not necessarily the right means of treatment for everyone. Many patients benefit from treatment with oral appliances/orthotics, or treatments outside of dentistry altogether - many people do not know the power of simple modifications in diet, lifestyle, other basic health assessments from your physician, and your environment as they pertain to your realization of overall wellness!
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