Fixing the cause, not just the symptom

As Alpers is focused not only on achieving nice, straight smile - we also want to create healthy smiles that will last.

There are several factors which can cause over-crowded or crooked teeth and its essential that we treat these issues alongside your orthodontic plan.

We have an integrated practitioner here who can go over all of these with you by assessing tongue posture, facial muscles, breathing habits and more!

As Alpers is focused not only on achieving a nice, straight smile - we also want to create healthy smiles that will last.

Oro-Facial Assessments

As a part of the treatment plan at Alpers, every Orthodontic patient will be booked in for an
Orofacial Assessment in which we check breathing and oral posture to see if there are any habits
which may need correcting with either breathing or myofunctional exercises.

We take mouth posture seriously at Alpers, because if these muscles are out of balance the teeth, jaws and face will be affected and we want to be sure that the corrective work being done with the plates and braces doesn’t subsequently become undone as a result of any detrimental oral habits.

Myofunctional Therapy

A non-surgical, oral facial muscle therapy that combines exercise and measurements to improve the function of the facial muscles or “mouth posture”.

The target of treatment is often to correct a deviated swallow or “tongue thrust” that can result in abnormal swallowing patterns; and we also look at any tendency to have unaware “open mouth posture” and will work on strengthening lip tone.

Thumb-sucking and pacifier use are other habits which can re-shape the mouth and affect the way the teeth are coming through and the function of the swallow.

By strengthening oral facial muscles, the patient will be able to correct habits developed over a lifetime and learn to swallow correctly.

The average person swallows 500 to 700 times a day. Swallowing doesn’t seem all that important, but it is really the overall function of the mouth, tongue, teeth and throat that can have an effect on the appearance of the teeth and facial profile, our body’s ability to process the food we eat and our ability to pronounce words.

If the tongue isn’t resting properly during swallowing, it can affect all these other things.

Alpers Breathing Course

Mouth breathing is often caused by nasal blockage due to allergies or respiratory infections. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids are often contributors to a mouth-breathing habit.

When a child can’t breathe through his/her nose, they have to breathe through the mouth and that brings the tongue down off the roof of the mouth.

It only takes children a few days of chronic mouth breathing (such as during a cold or prolonged respiratory illness) for the habit to overtake natural nose breathing.

Mouth breathing leads to a whole host of other bodily malfunctions that require adequate oxygen supply to work properly. Children who mouth breathe all hyperventilate, which disrupts our natural body mechanics leading to many symptoms including:

  • Headaches
  • Gingivitis and gum disease
  • Recurrent Sore throat and cold symptoms
  • Bad breath and higher risk for cavities
  • Poor sleep – leading to chronic fatigue
  • Digestive disturbances – gas, upset stomach, acid reflux

Over a lifetime, mouth breathing can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, sleep apnoea and other medical issues because of poor oxygen concentration in the bloodstream.

Children who breathe through their mouths do not sleep well, so they’re tired during the day, irritable and have difficulty concentrating on and understanding class work.

This difficulty translates into acting out behaviourally — the kind of behaviour commonly attributed to ADD and ADHD.

At the initial Orthodontic Consultation, Dr Anderson will assess the airways from the x-rays and discuss whether specialist referrals may be needed in the case of significant adenoid or tonsil issues.

For children who mouth breathe due to allergies, treatment strategies may need to be discussed, to determine what the allergy is and how to eliminate it from the environment.

The ABC courses focus on breaking the mouth-breathing pattern and, if caught early enough, to help guide the development of the mouth, teeth and tongue, into their optimal position and shape. The first goal of treatment is to reduce hyperventilation in these children – that alone will have a huge impact on everything else.

Alpers Dental has had a long and valued association with Glenn White from Buteyko Breathing Clinics in Auckland so that we can provide in-house retraining programmes for habitual mouth-breathers.

For patients with severe symptoms related to hyperventilation we recommend the full Buteyko Breathing programme with Glenn.

Biodynamic-Craniosacral Therapy

Or BCST for short!

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) is a gentle, non-manipulative body therapy where the
practitioner gently holds the body without applying any pressure or force and, with awareness to the
subtle fluctuations in the client’s nervous system (the spinal column and its surrounding craniosacral
fluid), assists the bones, muscles and organs to relax into a more comfortable relationship, thus
orienting to greater health, restoring balance.

In some orthodontic cases BCST may be suggested to help improve cranial and/or whole body
alignment in order to prevent additional stress being placed on cranial bones, and many TMJD (Jaw
Joint Disorder) sufferers have found relief from pain and tension with a series of BCST treatments.

Conditions which may respond to BCST

• Cranial pain: neuralgia/headaches/migraines
• TMJ (jaw joint) pain or clicking, clenching, grinding
• Post-birth trauma for both mother and baby
• Stress & anxiety disorders/PTSD/Shock/insomnia
• Neck/shoulder/back pain, torticollis
• Ear/nose/throat issues
• Recovery after any surgery/anaesthetic (inc. dental extractions, implants, fillings)

You do not have to be a dental or orthodontic patient at Alpers to have a BCST treatment.
Professional Craniosacral Therapists are subjected to an annual registration process whereby
stringent standards must be met for on-going professional development and supervision.

At Alpers we are fortunate to an in-house Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist. Deborah is a
Registered BCST and past secretary of the Pacific Association of Craniosacral Therapists.

She was also part of the Auckland tutor team at Body Intelligence, an international BCST training academy, for 4 years until just recently.