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Airway to TMJ, Pre and Post Ortho

January 31, 2018

Filed under: TMJ disorder — Tags: — drbushdid @ 4:10 pm

Man with jaw painEver wonder why most teeth move years after braces? Yes, it partially due to not wearing your retainer, but who’s realistically going to be wearing one for life?

Consider for a moment that a lot of the orthodontic treatment that is done is not taking into consideration the cause of the malocclusion (bad bite) and misalignment in the first place.  So, what is the cause?  It is usually a consequence of an obstruction of the nasal passages, which in turn causes mouth breathing.

Since proper nasal breathing is necessary for the correct development of the head and neck, the moment that it is interrupted, and mouth breathing starts, a sequela of events take place.

Your Airway and Teeth Spacing

One of the first things that happens is the loss of balance between your cheeks and tongue, causing the cheeks to win the war and tongue to drop down.  Proper tongue position on the roof of your mouth is critical for the correct development of the maxilla (top jaw).  If the tongue is not sitting up there properly, the upper arch will collapse.  That will cause the lack of space and teeth to come out crooked.

Furthermore, think of the upper arch as the garage and the lower arch (mandible) as the car.  If the garage is too small, the car doesn’t fit, so it ends up moving to the back of the throat; hence, further compromising your airway.  Another consequence of the mandible being in a posterior position is compression of the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint).

We have not even started to talk about what happens with the neck.  As a consequence of not having enough room to breathe, we end up lifting our heads forward and up, as if gazing at the sky.  In essence, this is like doing CPR on ourselves to open up our airways! But, looking up at the sky would cause us to bump into everything, so to compensate we bring our head down and forward developing a forward head posture.  Consider that our heads weigh around 10-12 lbs., so think of a bowling ball sitting up there.  For every inch we are forward, it adds 10 lbs. of weight on our neck, leading to the compression of vital nerves and many TMD (temporomandibular disorder) symptoms, such as Migraine headaches, tingling in fingertips, etc. As a result, you will need TMJ therapy in Coral Gables to relieve the discomfort.

What Causes This Obstruction of Airway?

The most likely cause is environmental, such as allergies.  They cause the adenoids and tonsils to enlarge, which obstructs the nasal flow, leading to mouth breathing.

Nowadays, your dentist in Coral Gables is paying more attention to the role of the tongue itself. What if the tongue was never able to get up to the roof of the mouth in the first place?  The roof of the mouth is the floor of the nose, so the collapsing of it causes a deviated septum, which can obstruct the nasal floor. Therefore, paying attention to tongue ties is crucial– even in babies! Babies with tongue ties cannot latch on for breast feeding!

What Can Be Done to Prevent All of This?

  1. Pay attention to your children’s airway. Are they breathing through their noses or mouths?  Are they snoring? Grinding their teeth?  Trouble focusing at school?  Waking up tired? Falling asleep with mouth open?
  2. If they are doing any of the above, please bring them in for an airway evaluation ASAP. They could be suffering from sleep apnea. The earlier it is taken care of the better.
  3. If you are considering having orthodontics work done on yourself or your child, please make sure that the proper care is taken to establish harmony between teeth, muscles, TMJ, neck and airway– not just a pretty smile. Very rarely, if ever should teeth be extracted, that would further impinge on tongue space and the airway.



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