Thursday, May 8, 2014

"A beautiful smile can change your self image." I've said it again and again....
NBC is still running their "love your selfie" series. In February , each anchor- person described what they did and did not like about their image now and in the past. 
When describing what they didn't like about themselves, 2 out of 9 "hosts" said that they didn't like their big front teeth that "stuck out". Braces solved this problem for them both. Yes its true, braces can change your self-image!

"Mouth Breathing"

We’re back in Spring- complete with grass and pollen allergens. Along with the sniffling and itchy eyes of Spring Allergy season comes swelling of the inside of the nose which can further block the airway. Poor breathing ability has also been linked to poor sleeping (with symptoms typical of sleep apnea). At Okun Orthodontics we see a lot of mouth breathers during allergy season.  Breathing through one’s mouth creates many issues.  The air one “mouth- breathes” is not warmed in the nose or filtered by nose- hairs.  The soft tissues of the mouth desiccate (dry out) and the muscle balance between the tongue, cheeks and lips is altered.  Mouth breathers, like thumb suckers, have a greater force “pushing in” from the taut position of the cheeks. This force is not balanced by a “pushing out” force from the tongue because the tongue is positioned downward with the lower jaw. Therefore mouth breathers tend to have narrower dental arches.  Narrower arches often have more dental crowding.  In young patients, mouth breathing may also contribute to more vertical growth of the lower jaw creating a longer face.

Orthodontists are in the unique position of being able to alter facial growth in children.  As part of the orthodontic process we can expand the bones of the roof of the mouth creating a wider arch form.  Since the bones which form the roof of the mouth are the same bones which form the floor of the nose, palatal expansion increases nose-breathing ability.  This is because the triangular space of the nose increases in area as the base of the triangle widens.  Even when seasonal allergies cause inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, the swollen nose tissues are less likely to fully occlude (block) this wider space.  Thus an orthodontic patient who undergoes palatal expansion to alleviate posterior cross-bites and dental crowding can also benefit from increased airway and better sleep quality.