We all want a nice smile. It’s a confidence booster when we are happy with our teeth and can smile without worrying about how our teeth look.
What most people don’t realise is that achieving and maintaining that lovely smile isn’t just about the teeth… there are many factors which contribute to a great smile including bone and tooth growth, breathing patterns and muscular function.
If just one of those aspects is addressed but not the others, then there is a higher likelihood of relapse after treatment – something we like to educate our patients on so to avoid this at Alpers.
Having great teeth means we can chew our food efficiently, our teeth come together well in a nice broad smile, and our natural resting facial posture is with lips together, breathing nasally, teeth gently together and the tongue sitting up on the roof of the mouth, gently supporting the upper palate.
Poor oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, dysfunctional chewing/eating patterns, mouth breathing, etc., contribute further to poor oral growth patterns affecting not only the teeth, but our breathing, eating and behavioural patterns as well.
Many children who are assumed to have attention deficits are actually over-breathing (also known as hyperventilation) which – strange as it may seem – can lead to Hypoxia which is a deficiency of oxygen in the blood, and therefore to the brain.
Behaviour usually improves once they learn to keep their mouth closed and breathe through the nose.
At Alpers we run regular school holiday programmes to teach children better breathing habits and a fantastic side effect of this is often fewer issues with congestion, coughs and colds, and better sleep patterns.
Habitual open mouth breathing can cause overall poor muscle tone in the lips, tongue and cheeks, and we can address this too with Myofunctional Therapy – which is like Pilates for your mouth!
Like any muscles in your body, we can do exercises to improve oral muscular function and a programme of Myofunctional Therapy can reduce overall treatment time when used in conjunction with plates and/or braces.
Your tongue is a really strong muscle, capable of exerting a half a kilo of pressure – which is more than enough to move the positioning of your teeth if you have a habit of thrusting the tongue forward on the swallow… And if it’s hanging around in the bottom of your mouth, instead of sitting on the upper palate, it’s not fulfilling its function as a natural retainer.
Tongue and Lip Tie, where the ligaments attaching the lips and tongue to the upper and lower jaw are too tight, are other issues which affect tooth growth and when these need to be surgically released we recommend a series of Myofunctional Therapy appointments before and after to aid recovery and prevent re-attachment.
We also have an in-house registered craniosacral therapist at Alpers who is available to help ease the tensions of the orthodontic work, and a number of adult patients suffering from jaw tension issues, stress and fatigue have found craniosacral therapy to be a beneficial adjunct to their treatment plan.
Some gentle intra-oral release work prior to a lengthy dental procedure may facilitate an increase in jaw opening enabling an easier process for both patient and dentist.
Working very gently without force, Bio-dynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) does not use manipulations or pressure – a light touch and a little time are often all that’s needed to trigger the body’s own relax and repair mechanism to get back on track.
For children suffering from headaches, sinus issues or glue ear, a few craniosacral treatments may assist to release cranial tension, allowing the nasal passages and eustacian tubes to drain more freely.
Sometimes patterns of tension from accidents and injuries can remain locked in muscle and ligaments, causing a greater tendency for tension/contraction when stressed the next time – our craniosacral therapist has worked with many people post-surgery to aid recovery and switch the nervous system into rest and restore mode.
You do not need to be a dental patient at Alpers to book in for BCST.