How Orthodontics Can Cure Or Cause Snoring
John Napolitano DDS, Innovative Dental Professionals
What does breathing thru a straw feel like? Imagine. Strangled. And struggling thru life inhaling a tiny fraction of the oxygen you deserve. If you snore, have crooked teeth, experience headaches, high blood pressure, daytime drowsiness or ADHD symptoms, then there's a good chance your brain is starving. Starving for oxygen. Let me explain.
For starters, not all orthodontics is the same. Dinosaur techniques still exist and perhaps even harmfully contribute to: snoring, sleep apnea, sunken lips, longer looking noses, sagging-chins at a young age, lisping sounds when pronouncing the letter s, chronic headaches and more.
Indeed, there's an ongoing debate in the dental community over various orthodontic philosophies. Just as there was once a debate on whether the earth was flat or round. I'll let you decide for yourself which is the better way. Here's my view.
Removing (amputating!) adult teeth to make room for crowded teeth = bad.
You've probably run across this scenario at the weekend barbecue. Someone says:
... yeah, the orthodontist said there's not enough room in my kid's mouth for all their teeth... so now they have to remove four adult teeth to free-up some room.
Thankfully, there are select dentists who won't amputate healthy adult teeth for ortho. In fact, they do the exact opposite. They instead enlarge the upper and lower jaw to make space for all the teeth to fit. The way God intended.
But this first step of enhancing the dental bones does more than merely make room to fit the teeth. It also balances the appearance of your face. And helps the tongue. Indeed, if you were to widen the stunted dental bone properly, you would allow additional space for the tongue. Therefore, the tongue will calmly inch it's way out—from blocking the throat.
In a nutshell, with the proper skills, you can shape how the bones in your face fit. So to get more room to fit the teeth and the tongue. Without getting too techy, the reason why this all works is that the human face evolved to grow in a specific way. Thru what's called the V-principle; or expanding v-principle.
The net effect of the V-Principle is to carry your mouth forward and wider. This significantly benefits breathing, brain, and heart health—because it enlarges your breathing tube so it can remain open during sleep. But today, the vast majority of people have stunted growth of the jaws. Which is why teeth erupt crowded; and airways crimp. One way to fix this stunted growth is with a comfortably fitted oral device. Which is designed to mimic the expanding V-Principle of growth.
Although modern 3D scanners can even show proof of the upper breathing tube increase, only a minority of orthodontists utilize this unique ortho method.
In fact, there are dental experts who go so far as to deny this biologic reality. And still apply backward forces to the face which causes the opposite of the V-Principal. Basically, 99% of orthodontists pull the upper jaw backward. This is not good because it hinders the forward position of the lower face—while affecting your tongue position. Repeat: pulling any part of the lower face backward is not good. It won't alleviate the crimped airway. In fact, it could make it worse.
Now let's take this one step further.
Snoring basically occurs in two places:
- the base of the tongue
- inside of nose resistance
Let's pinpoint the base of the tongue problem for now.
The base of the tongue attaches near a little bone in the neck called the hyoid bone. Around the "Adam's apple" area. In fact, tongue posture affects where your hyoid bone position rests.
As air passes thru this constricted segment of the neck, it vibrates. It snores. Sometimes the snoring is silent... like when the breathing tube is closed... and you're literally holding your breath and suffocating in your sleep. When this pattern repeats many times per hour, you have what's called obstructive sleep apnea. You're being denied air.
Low oxygen = poor brain health.
And the heart, lungs and internal organs get destroyed by internal air pressure imbalances. A patient might even comment how it feels like a guerrilla or heavy weight is sitting on their chest. Episodes of obstructive sleep apnea have the equivalent effect of waterboarding torture.
There are three ways to fix this:
- enlarge the mouth to its proper size and shape with a growth appliance (non-surgically); or
- enlarge the mouth to its proper size and location surgically; or
- wear c-pap while asleep to blow air and support the strangled airway
Some airways are so choked-off, it looks like the patient is breathing thru a straw.
Snoring or crooked teeth are merely symptoms. Just like a high fever is a symptom. Taking Tylenol doesn't cure the underlying cause of the fever. And it certainly takes more than just braces or Invisalign to cure snoring.
If teeth are crooked, that's a symptom. Putting braces or Invisalign on crooked teeth as a first step doesn't cure the reason why the teeth are crooked in the first place. It's no wonder why you often hear people complain about teeth moving years after braces.
Sadly, well-intentioned orthodontists rarely ever make an attempt to diagnose and cure the airway problem. Despite the fact, when you treat the airway first, there's ample room for all the teeth to then line-up beautifully.
The airway is the keystone to your face. That's where I start.
Move teeth with the airway in mind—or else pay the price with relapse later.
In summary, the position of your tongue at rest is a key factor in snoring and later orthodontic tooth relapse. If you don't move teeth with the airway in mind, then over time, the tongue fights back. When the mouth is not fitted for the tongue, you'll get tooth relapse for the same reason you get snoring: aka, a [cramped airway].
Dentists often blame tooth relapse on the patient—for not wearing their permanent retainer. This is complete nonsense. I don't use permanent retainers. And my orthodontic patients don't experience the relapse. If you require a retainer for life, then the orthodontic treatment was not architected properly. And under the hood, there are deeper problems than just teeth relapsing.
I've treated tens of thousands of patients for over four decades. Way before fancy 3D scans were available to justify this technique. Although modern schools of thought still promote amputation orthodontics, I haven't amputated an adult tooth for orthodontic purposes since my very first year in practice—back in 1972.
Whenever you're ready to cure snoring or crooked teeth, how about you call our office and get scheduled fast? (847) 565-2014
For your free PDF ortho guide which fully details how this all works, get it here.
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If you're ready to make beauty permanent, we look forward to helping you achieve your best—your most confident—smile. We offer both orthopedic & orthodontic therapies. And clear corrective aligners for teeth whenever the case permits. We also offer general dental services, if you need general dental work. Call our office today and let us know which you prefer: an ortho consult; or a general dentistry exam.