Although orthodontic treatments and appliances are primarily used to correct the positioning and alignment of the teeth, they can also provide incredible benefits to the body’s airways and a patient’s ability to breathe. At times, this benefit can actually be the primary motivation for the use and implementation of orthodontic techniques. Below, we’ll explain the importance of these breathing airways before describing how common orthodontic techniques can improve them.
The Importance of Normal Breathing
Normal and healthy breathing abilities is an essential part of human development. With obstructed airways or improper breathing habits, such as mouth breathing, the body can actually have detrimental effects on development and health. For example, breathing dysfunctions can cause malformation of the teeth, creating orthodontic issues that are more severe than those seen in children with healthy breathing abilities. Similarly, even small obstructions in the airway that are a result of misaligned teeth can worsen over time and become chronic conditions. Proper oral development and breathing habits go hand-in-hand, they each improve the overall health of the body, but conversely, can produce negative effects when not properly treated.
The key to treating breathing abnormalities and developmental concerns in the mouth is to identify them early. The earlier they are addressed, the simpler a treatment is that can be provided. Many cases of obstructed airways can be fixed with standard dental appliances that are already used in the treatment of misaligned teeth. For example, braces can be affixed with devices that improve the arch in the palate or assist in the proper development of the mouth. As stated above, the best opportunities for correcting obstructed airways and their related orthodontic concerns is by addressing them as early as possible. Whether it’s done as a preventative treatment or as part of a two-phase orthodontics plan, research has proven that the long-term effects are most substantial when treatment is begun at an early age.
How Do I Know if Treatment is Necessary?
If you notice that your child is breathing abnormally or experiences any difficulties breathing, especially while sleeping, eating or exercising, you may want to ask us about it on your next visit. We will be able to examine the structures of the mouth as part of our routine examination, and can help you determine if there is anything that needs further attention. When in doubt, it never hurts to schedule a visit due to the possible severity of the underlying issues. If you have questions about your child’s breathing or orthodontic care, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Drs. Savage, Sabol and Visser.