Airways and Orthodontics

Aligning The Bite For Proper Breathing And Sleep

Orthodontics is all about straightening teeth—but it is so much more than that! When the top and bottom jaws do not fit together properly, a variety of adverse health effects can occur. Patients with a misaligned jaw can have uneven wear on the teeth, TMJ disorders and jaw pain, and in some cases, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. By ensuring that the teeth are straight and the top and bottom arches fit together properly, patients can have a more aesthetically pleasing smile and face shape, along with improved oral health and open airways.

Airways and Orthodontics: Long-Term Effects Of Jaw Misalignment

Jaw misalignment occurs when the top and bottom jaws do not fit together properly, and can manifest in several different ways, including:

When the upper top teeth protrude over the bottom teeth

When the upper bottom teeth protrude over the top teeth

When the top teeth fit behind the bottom teeth

When there is space between the upper and lower teeth

Left untreated, jaw misalignment can not only affect facial symmetry and appearance, but can have adverse effects on your dental and overall health. These include:

When the top and bottom teeth do not fit together, force is unevenly distributed across the teeth when biting and chewing. Over time, this can lead to tooth wear and damage.

Uneven pressure can put strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This can lead to a TMJ disorder, which causes pain, popping and cracking, and locking of the jaw.

Jaw position has a significant impact on the airways. Improper mouth position during sleep can block the airways and lead to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Sleep problems prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, and affect your ability to focus during the day.

Sleep Apnea and Airways

Sleep apnea occurs when the airways are partially or completely blocked during sleep. Patients with sleep apnea temporarily stop breathing during sleep, and wake frequently during the night. Symptoms of sleep apnea can occur both at night and in the morning.

Nighttime symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Snoring

  • Choking or gasping

  • Waking frequently throughout the night

  • Restless legs

  • Night sweats

During the day, sleep apnea can cause:

  • Difficulty focusing

  • Irritability

  • Fatigue

  • Morning headaches

  • Waking with dry mouth

  • Depression and anxiety

In children, improper sleep can negatively impact their behavior, learning comprehension and overall growth and development. Airways and orthodontics play a crucial role in your child’s development.

How Can Orthodontics Correct Airway Issues?

Airways and orthodontics go hand in hand. By correcting the bite and the position of the jaw during sleep, the airways open up, facilitating breathing. At Clemente Orthodontics, we offer several orthodontic appliances to open the airways and help patients of all ages get restful, more high-quality sleep. If you or your child are experiencing jaw misalignment or symptoms of sleep apnea, request a complimentary consultation at one of our three locations: Ridgewood, NJ, Woodcliff Lake, NJ and New City, NY.

Airways and Orthodontics