“It’s not just about straight teeth anymore. It’s about overall health and longevity,” says Dr. Johnson M. Hagood of Vero Beach Art of Dentistry. “With Invisalign, I am able to change the arch morphology and width, in addition to teeth alignment. This increases the oral cavity volume for proper tongue placement to help prevent and minimize obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and nighttime snoring.”
Dr. Johnson Hagood has studied airway-driven expansion orthodontics intensively for a number of years and found that clear aligner orthodontic treatment is a minimally invasive and effective orthodontic technology for not only improving the appearance of smiles but also increasing oral cavity volume. It can be used to reshape and widen arches in children and adults (without surgery or “headgear”), so the tongue is optimally placed for breathing. Because almost all children and adults living today in the U.S. have dental crowding and non-ideal arch shape and width, there is large potential for clear aligner treatment (C.A.T.) to become the standard of care.
Underdevelopment of the jaw and teeth crowding factor into OSA.
Southern Illinois University professor emeritus and physical anthropologist Robert Corruccini, Ph.D., authored the book How Anthropology Informs the Orthodontic Diagnosis of Malcocclusion’s Causes. Corruccini explains that underdevelopment of the jaw has made modern man more susceptible to dental crowding and breathing problems while sleeping. He and other anthropologists have made the stunning discovery that no crowding or other dental malocclusions can be found in human skulls before 400 years ago. All humans had straight teeth and room for all 32.
Corruccini explains the changes in human jaw development coincided with the advent of industrialized society bringing about a soft diet. Jaw size depends on rigorous chewing of hard foods and proper swallowing during breastfeeding. Studies indicate breastfeeding provides functional stress on the jaw and facial muscles to help the jaw grow forward, and post-industrialized children are not eating the hard foods and doing the hard chewing that would make the jaws advance forward in growth. Orthodontic treatment that moves teeth towards the back of the jaw after teeth are extracted to un-crowd remaining teeth can further impact the airway anatomy.