Santa Clara Dentist

Airway Centric OrthodonticsSanta Clara, CA

Airway centric orthodontics is an approach to straightening the teeth and jaw that entails opening the airways to improve breathing to prevent airway problems. Orthodontics in dentistry focuses on dental health, including the treatment and correction of issues related to the teeth and supporting structures. With the developments in sleep and dental sleep medicine, there is an increasing need to preserve the physiological function of the airway too.

Airway centric orthodontics considers other aspects of the patient’s health – the health of the airway and facial development – this ensures they receive treatment for airway issues that may be missed. With this treatment, we can help increase oxygen intake and resolve issues like snoring and sleep apnea.

Call us at 408-244-0590 to schedule an appointment and learn more today.

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The Need for Airway Centric Orthodontics

Many patients deal with a form of airway problem. This approach allows the dentist to look beyond the teeth and consider the throat, nose, tongue muscles, neck, face, and to the rest of the body. By connecting the dots, the treatment suddenly goes from realigning the teeth to restoring optimal health and dental function to the patient.

If a child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, they might benefit from airway centric orthodontics:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Thumb sucking
  • Snoring
  • Teeth grinding and excessive teeth wear
  • Dark circle “panda” eyes
  • Recurrent ear infection
  • Recessed or protruded lower jaw
  • Narrow jaw
  • Crooked teeth
  • Bedwetting
  • TMJ disorder
  • Migraine headaches

The Benefits of Airway Centric Orthodontics

By restoring the proper airflow, balancing facial structural development, and restoring regular functions, it is possible to prevent defective facial growth, disruptive sleep patterns, and crooked teeth, if treatment commences early. These issues impact the whole body and can disrupt healthy cognitive development. Essentially, early intervention and preventive treatment are crucial to staying ahead and preventing potential issues in the future.

The approach does not focus on the symptoms, but the underlying cause of the problem for effective treatment. The body automatically alters head postures to open inadequately-open airways, which consequently changes the posture of the body to preserve balance. Normalcy is not restored until there is an improvement to the airway structures. The family dentist can do this with non-surgical, mild airway centric orthodontics. Improving air passages can improve breathing functions and reduces the risk of sleep apnea.

Improving nasal breathing contributes to the proper and natural development of the jaw structures. Since the shape of the face affects a person’s appearance, patients can enjoy the aesthetic benefits for a lifetime. Early intervention takes advantage of a child’s development to improve jaw structures; the dentist can address several concerns and give their patient a healthier life.

Our Airway Centric Orthodontic Services

Some of the procedures available under airway centric orthodontics include:

Myofunctional therapy

The treatment may also involve specific training procedures to help exercise the mouth and facial muscles. Myofunctional therapy works on the principle that the cause of malocclusion is muscle dysfunction. Early in life, children may show signs such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, and incorrect swallowing – all of which may cause malocclusion. Correcting these dysfunctional habits corrects malocclusion (with early intervention) and can potentially improve facial growth.

Myofunctional therapy is not just about shifting the teeth. The first point of treatment is to make space for the tongue to occupy the maxilla. The second focus is to ensure the patient breathes through their nose with their lips closed. It is hard to achieve proper arch development and dental alignment if the patient is not breathing via their nose.

The Myobrace System

The Myobrace system uses a series of removable oral devices known as “trainers” and Myofunctional training exercises. The procedure helps the child’s development, improves breathing and sleep by correcting the underlying issues responsible for crooked teeth and narrow palates in the first place – ensuring a beautiful smile and a healthy body.

The child will need to wear the “trainers” for one or two hours during the day and throughout the night – every day for effectiveness. The Myobrace is custom-made for the child or teen to develop their jaws, open the airway, and move the teeth to proper alignment.

Early Palatal Expansion

This procedure widens the mouth roof, called the palate, to create more room on the jaw for teeth eruption. The palatal expander is fixed to the upper teeth (the molars), and the dentist will teach the parent to adjust the screw on the expander daily. The screw slowly expands to reduce pain. Once the palate widens to the correct width, the patient will stop turning the screw. The device will remain until the soft cartilage in the palate covers the gap. The treatment process typically lasts between four to six months.

Tongue-Tie Treatment

Also known as a lingual frenectomy, the procedure involves using lasers to free or cut the frenulum away from under the tongue. By using lasers, no incision is necessary, it lowers the chance of pain significantly, and enhance the process to finish much more quickly. The procedure is required to free the tongue from being bound to the floor of the patient’s mouth.

Conventional Braces

Conventional braces use metal brackets and archwire to shift the teeth to their proper position. Each bracket is fixed to the surface of the tooth, and the archwire runs through the brackets. Tightening the archwire induces a light force on the teeth to cause movement. Conventional braces can correct crooked teeth and a misaligned bite.


Invisalign straightens the teeth with clear aligner trays. The aligners consist of a unique type of plastic and custom made for the patient. The solid plastic aligners are strong enough to put force on specific areas of the teeth to move them. The aligners are replaced with the next set in the series every two weeks. Each aligner set is slightly different from the last one and designed to move the teeth a few millimeters.

Call Us Today

If you observe the signs that indicate the need for Airway Centric Orthodontics, call us at 408-244-0590 to book an appointment with the family and cosmetic dentist for an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the Myobrace treatment take?

The length and result of Myobrace treatment depend mostly on patient compliance. Patients must use the trainers according to the dentist’s direction. Although the average treatment time varies, it generally lasts about 18 months.

What is the benefit of Myofunctional therapy?

Myofunctional therapy ensures patients grow without damaging habits that can affect facial growth. Correcting swallowing methods and improving nutrition contributes to the development of the face. Patients who do not breathe through their mouths are healthier and less likely to get allergies and infections.

What is the aftercare process after getting a palatal expander?

It helps to stick to a diet of soft foods after getting the expander. Good oral hygiene is essential – the child needs to take proper care of their mouth and clean their expander while brushing as well. It is also advisable to rinse the mouth after eating or drinking anything aside from water.

When is the best time to start orthodontic treatment?

It is never too late to undergo orthodontics. However, starting early in life makes the problem easier to treat, and early intervention can prevent future problems. Dental professionals typically recommend that children undergo orthodontic evaluation at age seven.

What is the difference between conventional braces and Invisalign?

Both options are effective for straightening the teeth but use different mechanisms to induce force or pressure on the teeth. While regular braces use brackets and wires, Invisalign uses custom aligner trays to move the teeth. Unlike conventional braces, Invisalign is removable.

Contact Us

Well Being Dentistry is located at
3993 Stevens Creek Blvd
Santa Clara, CA

(408) 244-0590