Airway Orthodontics – Palm Harbor, FL

A Solution for Your Child’s Breathing Problems

Does your child frequently snore or briefly stop breathing during the night? Sometimes an issue with the jaw’s alignment can cause your little one’s airway to become repeatedly blocked while they sleep. Needless to say, these frequent interruptions can wreak havoc on your child’s health in the long term. Dr. Johnson can evaluate their airway and provide an orthodontic solution to ensure they are able to breathe easy; call us today to set up a consultation to discuss airway orthodontics in Palm Harbor, FL.

Child sleeping soundly thanks to airway orthodontics treatment

Why Choose Dr. Alex Johnson Orthodontics
for Airway Orthodontics?

  • Whole-Body Approach to Orthodontics
  • Able to Stop Sleep Apnea & Snoring
  • Board-Certified in Dental Sleep Medicine

What Causes Airway Obstruction in Children?

Child smiling during airway obstruction consultation

Nighttime airway obstruction – more commonly known as obstructive sleep apnea – is often linked to obesity in adults. For children, however, the problem is usually due to a developmental issue, such as an enlarged tongue or tonsils, or a growth deformity such as a narrow palate. It is extremely important to accurately determine the underlying cause of sleep apnea so that we can develop an effective treatment that addresses the root of the problem.

Symptoms We Treat

Tired child in need of airway orthodontics treatment

Airway orthodontics is able to address a wide variety of symptoms, some of which may surprise you! In the past, Dr. Johnson has used this type of care to help children with:

  • Crooked Teeth
  • Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Forward Head Posture
  • Misdiagnosed ADHD
  • Orthodontic Relapse Cases
  • Abnormal Facial Growth & Development
  • Tongue Ties
  • TMJ Issues

Does Your Child Need Airway Orthodontics?

Two kids smiling after airway orthodontics treatment

Your child could be suffering from a sleep-related breathing disorder if they:

  • Frequently snore, choke, gasp, or snort while they’re asleep.
  • Habitually breathe through their mouth or pause their breathing while sleeping.
  • Often complain about headaches or tiredness during the day.
  • Suffer from nightmares and bedwetting.
  • Exhibit behavioral and learning problems at school.

Once sleep apnea has been properly diagnosed, talk to Dr. Johnson about whether your child is a candidate for orthodontic airway management.

Consequences of NOT Treating

Child falling asleep before airway orthodontics treatment

Over time, a poor airway and lack of restful sleep can lead to several negative health consequences, including:

  • ADHD-like Symptoms
  • Increased Tooth Crowding
  • Scoliosis
  • Chronic Pain Issues
  • Anxiety or Depression
  • Abnormal Facial Growth & Deformity
  • Gum Disease
  • Loss of Ability to Chew Correctly
  • Increased Pain in the Face, Jaw, or Neck
  • Poor Nasal Breathing
  • Asthma

Myofunctional Therapy

Closeup of child's face before myofunctional therapy

Myofunctional therapy is meant to help a patient relearn how to use their facial muscles after any structural issues have been corrected. After undergoing airway orthodontics, a child might need help learning how to breathe primarily through their nose or swallow correctly. A few simple exercises will be prescribed, and over time, the new motions will become automatic, improving the child’s daily health and comfort.

The Myobrace System

Myobrace myofunctional orthodontics appliance

Another method that may be implemented during airway orthodontics is called Myobrace. Rather than affixing braces to a child’s teeth, Myobrace involves a child wearing a removable custom appliance for about one to two hours a day as well as overnight. Depending on a child’s needs, it can help guide the teeth into their proper positions, widen the palate to open up the airway, assist in proper swallowing, stop snoring, and much more. The advantage of Myobrace is that because the appliance is only used for a limited time, a child is able to go about their day as normal while still benefiting from a professional treatment.

Oral Muscle Therapy

Child smiling during oral muscle therapy visit

In addition to opening up the airway with orthodontics, Dr. Johnson can also show your child exercises that are designed to strengthen the muscles that line the upper airway. This will make them more rigid, which will help prevent your child’s breathing from becoming cut off during the night. Oral muscle therapy can also help train a child to primarily breathe through their nose if they previously did so mostly through their mouth. 

Oral Appliances

Closeup of child placing an oral appliance

At first, Dr. Johnson may use braces or a clear aligner treatment to widen your child’s airway. After this initial phase, he may then utilize a custom-made oral appliance to ensure that the newly shifted teeth stay in their new positions. A small retainer will be worn full-time for a few months, and eventually, your child may only have to wear it at night. This is to ensure that the adjustments to the airway remain permanent.

Read Dr. Johnson’s Article on Managing Airway Development

Group of kids smiling after airway orthodontics

A healthy airway is the foundation for normal facial and dental development. Addressing the underlying causes, not just correcting the teeth, is important to a child's smile and for the development of a normal airway and facial structures.  Because of this connection, preventive treatment as early as possible is key. At AJ Orthodontics, our treatment philosophy is to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of an orthodontic problem, not just address the symptoms.

Read Dr. Johnson's Article