Functional Orthodontics

There is an ever-increasing amount of evidence that a multitude of health issues are related to a lack of functional breathing. The inability to breathe properly has a particularly negative effect on young children. As a result, we have partnered with ENTs, myofunctional therapists, pulmonologists, restorative dentists, and pediatric dentists in our area to assemble a team to help address breathing and airway issues so that our patients can receive the most comprehensive care, not just dentally, but systemically.

Our role as orthodontists is to help diagnose airway/sleep issues early in a patient's life and help them find the right specialists with which to work and to ensure that the teeth and dental arch forms of our patients are positioned a manner conducive to optimal breathing.

One of our key goals is establishing functional breathing. When breathing properly patients must:

  1. Breathe through their nose
  2. Keep their lips gently sealed
  3. Place the tip of their tongue onto the hard palate (roof of the mouth), just behind the upper front teeth

Functional nasal breathing allows the inspired air to be both warmed and filtered! When patients breathe through their mouths, unfiltered air seeds the oral cavity with bacteria. As a result, patients that breath through their mouths suffer from more upper respiratory tract and ear infections!

In addition, functional breathing allows for the expansion of the oral cavity as the tongue positioned on the palate broadens the roof of the mouth. Since the roof of the mouth is the floor of the nasal cavity, proper tongue positioning also broadens the nasal cavity. This increased oral and nasal cavity volume allow for better airflow and better sleep. Orthodontic treatment can often facilitate the creation of better, broader dental arch forms. As such, orthodontics can be a key tool in establish the best breathing/sleeping environment.

Snoring is not normal, and neither is restless sleep. When sleeping, patients should be perfectly still. Otherwise, they are failing to reap the benefits of a good night's rest. Waking up many times in the middle of the night can lead to increased anxiety and depression and can cause a patient to have trouble focusing. These common issues should not be ignored, and our team will help you work towards a resolution even if orthodontic treatment is not an immediate need.

Back to Top