Goals first, appliance selection second
Every person is unique, and achieving a healthy airway and proper facial development is more important than the tool to get there.
Dr. Inoue-Cheng does not believe in a silver bullet solution for all cases, and that's why she became certified in several different treatments and appliances for airway disorders. She will always prescribe the one best suited for your case. These are some of treatment options we offer - each one has its specific application:
It's all connected
Why are airway disorders so common nowadays? Studies show that our modern lifestyle is a big factor.
It starts when we are born - the breastfeeding period (which brings the baby's jaws forward and teaches correct tongue posture) is shorter than it should, we are given soft foods that don't stimulate our muscles properly, on top of tongue and/or lip ties which prevent proper development of the mandible. We start breathing through our mouths, our tongue does not rest on the roof of our mouths and therefore our palate and arches become underdeveloped. Our breathing and sleep patterns are affected, compromising our whole body.
Not the new normal
Popping and clicking of the jaw joints, TMJ related pain, snoring and/or waking up gasping for air, mouth breathing, teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching (bruxism) - these are not normal and should never occur. Most of them are signs that your body is struggling and fighting to get the air it needs.
We do not endorse traditional orthodontic techniques that include the extraction and/or retraction of permanent teeth. It reduces the available space for the tongue muscles in your mouth, which in turn have nowhere to go but back, obstructing the airway.
Although it is less common than it once was, headgear is still being prescribed as part of their orthodontic treatment. It pulls the maxilla (top jaw) backwards, which decreases the size of the oral cavity, leaves less room for the tongue and can lead to shrinking of the airway. Other appliances that create a “headgear effect” (watch here): elongated face, weak profile and potential airway problems. It may also pull the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) out of position which can cause cracking, popping, jaw pain and other TMJ symptoms.
The airway has a direct impact on the health and development of the entire body. There are many orthodontic techniques that create enough room for all permanent teeth while aligning them.
Previous orthodontic treatments that include extraction and/or retraction of permanent teeth can be reversed.
Treat early when possible
Improper development of the face and jaws can lead to breathing disorders such as snoring and pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Treating early (as young as 4 years old) allows us to use less invasive and gentler treatments since we are only guiding the face and jaw development during these critical years of rapid growth. It's also more effective in the long term, avoiding or minimizing further treatment or correction at an older age, and allowing your children to breathe properly and to achieve their full genetic physical and mental growth potential.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is an under-diagnosed and under-treated condition that can lead to a lower quality of life and a shorter life span.
Left untreated, breathing disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea can lead to or worsen life-threatening concerns, which can include high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and obesity. It can also lead to anxiety, headaches, bedwetting, Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, depression, erectile dysfunction, asthma, back and neck pain, among others.
Snoring, waking up gasping for air, grinding and/or clenching your teeth, feeling groggy or tired even after sleeping, a dry mouth upon waking, difficulty concentrating and increasing irritability or moodiness are signs of Sleep Apnea.
CPAP machines address only the symptoms of OSA, and not the root cause.
We work hand in hand with Sleep Doctors, Myofunctional Therapists, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Specialists, Chiropractors, and other medical specialists to provide an interdisciplinary approach to your treatment.