Health & Wellness

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The Changing American Profile

Dr. Jill Morris is an accredited cosmetic dentist with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. jaw
SarasotaDentist.com | 941.923.6363

How in the world did we get into the state we’re in? Daily, I see adults in their 40s with sleep apnea and TMJ pain. These are problems that didn’t occur at the beginning of my career. These were problems seen in later years, when adults were in their 60s. I see young children who are experiencing sleep apnea, underdeveloped faces and receding chins. Jaws that are too small for their teeth even though genetically they were programmed to have ample room for their teeth.

When I read Hal Huggins’ book, “Why Raise Ugly Kids?” it became apparent why this progression of chronic dental problems in our American culture has occurred. Even the standards of beauty are changing because we are used to seeing long faces, receded chins, narrow smiles, flat mid faces. This is also why the sales of facial fillers are also at a record breaking high. Men and women trying to create the beautiful cheek bones that they were supposed to have instead of their flat mid faces.

Why can’t people breathe out of their noses? Why do so many kids need to have teeth pulled prior to braces? Why do so many people miss work every year due to headaches? Why are sleep clinics popping up all over America with the sales of CPAP breathing machines at an all-time high?

The answers to the cause of these problems aren’t that hard to find and are easily preventable.

Start with the highly processed American diet, high carbohydrate and low fat food pyramid. This diet causes open-mouth breathing, allergies and mucous. This open-mouthed breathing results in wrong tongue position so that the dental arches grow narrow and the face becomes long with receding jaw lines. Next, we see teeth that don’t fit into the narrow dental arches. Parents are told to pull the teeth and the headgears and braces make the jaws even more narrow with the lower chin receded. These practices create adults that show up in my practice with TMJ (temporomandibular jaw) pain, clenching and grinding of the teeth and a tongue that blocks the airway while sleeping.
A sleeping infant should never have the mouth open. Watch your children and see if they mouth breathe. Mouth breathing inflames the tonsils and adenoids causing them to become enlarged and infected because the air is not filtered through the nose first. This causes allergies and breathing difficulties.
Old-style orthodontics was centered in taking out teeth, the four bicuspid teeth, then pulling everything back and aligning the teeth. These narrow dental arches create space limitation for the tongue. Through gravity, the tongue blocks the airway because of the recessed lower jaw. This results in suffocation or sleep apnea, early death in adults and poor concentration in children.

What do we do differently today?

At World Class Dentistry, we treat children and adults involving a combination of orthopedics and orthodontics. Orthopedics involves jaw growth and expansion. Orthodontics is the movement of teeth. Today, our primary goal is to expand and grow the upper arch of teeth via orthopedic movement. This allows the room for the natural teeth to fall correctly into place. The teeth know where they need to go and will align correctly given the opportunity. With the correct amount of room and spatial development we can then use orthodontics to correctly and beautifully align the teeth.
This can be done on adults to correct sleep apnea, prevent the use of CPAP machines and stop snoring. TMJ pain can, in most instances, be cured. In the past, we thought that surgery was the only way to allow the palate to grow or the TMJ to be corrected. Today we know that through orthopedic appliance therapy, we can stimulate growth in the upper jaw bone to expand and widen the arches. This will recapture the lost space from tooth removal, or gain space that was not there. This process allows the roof of the mouth to reshape, allowing more nasal air flow, nasal breathing and more tongue room to prevent sleep apnea.
The nice part is that the lower jaw will follow the upper jaw as it moves out and wider in shape. Some orthodontics may be needed, but not nearly as much to make a beautiful smile!
In children, we begin with Myofunctional therapy to teach proper tongue positioning that stimulates jaw growth automatically. The jaws and face will develop automatically and again the teeth know where to go. Sometimes we can even eliminate or minimize the need for braces. In children, we recommend early intervention at age 5.

World Class Dentistry
3951 Swift Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231
941.923.6363 | Sarasotadentist.com

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