Guest Article: Growing Better Airways with Biobloc Orthotropics

July 16th, 2013  / Author: Oregon Sleep Associates

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By Dr Mike Cary

Our airway health is related to how our face grows.  Facial growth and symmetry is influenced by genetics and tongue position.  In fact, how the tongue sits in the mouth has more impact than genetics when it comes to facial growth and symmetry. 

Favorable growth is associated with horizontal facial growth while unfavorable is associated with vertical growth.  Excess vertical growth results in elongation of the face, dental crowding, narrow palate, recessed chins, increase in airway restrictions and other conditions.  This occurs when the tongue is not resting against the roof of the mouth when the mouth is at rest (when we are not eating, drinking or speaking).  Good rest oral posture is when the tongue rests against the roof of the mouth, lips together, teeth lightly together and breathing through the nose.  Poor rest oral posture is when any of these are missing allowing the upper jaw to grow more vertically.  We find favorable facial growth is associated with good rest oral posture and horizontal growth.

Airway restrictions or obstructive sleep apnea in children have many of the same signs as poor rest oral posture such as narrow jaws, crowded teeth and mouth breathing.  Many times enlarged tonsils seem to be the cause of airway restrictions and unfavorable growth.  The first line of defense is to remove enlarged tonsils and adenoids to help children breath better.  However, this treatment alone does not improve rest oral posture, allowing unfavorable facial growth to continue.  Studies have shown over time, tonsil and adenoid removal alone helps a small percent of children with breathing disorders.

Biobloc Orthotropics® helps the face grow to its genetic potential by eliminating growth restrictions caused by poor rest oral posture.  Vertical growth is minimized and both jaws are developed in a forward and horizontal direction.  When the face grows more horizontal, the nasopharynx and oropharynx size increases as the base of the tongue comes forward with the face.  As the tongue comes forward it moves out of the airway space allowing more airflow from the nose to the lungs.  A 2007 study demonstrated Biobloc Orthotropics® can improve airway volume by 30%.  Currently Biobloc Orthotropics® is the only known method to increase the size of the airway with growth guidance.

Biobloc Orthotropics® utilizes a series of retainers to sequentially develop forward growth of the upper and lower jaw.  When compared to conventional orthodontic approach, orthotropics minimizes restrictive forces on the upper jaw when used properly allowing both jaws to grow forward.  You can see in figure 1 how the face and lips are fuller and the lower jaw is no longer recessed.

Figure 1

Figure 1

The oral appliances are comfortable to wear and are not visible making it desirable for the patient.  As the jaws develop forward, the tongue is lifted out of the airway to improve airflow (figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2

Biobloc Orthotropics® works best in children between age 5 and 8, when upper jaw growth is the greatest.  Treatment time can vary depending on the child, age and severity of the condition.  Treatment goal is to improve rest oral posture, increase favorable horizontal growth and improve airway volume.  Biobloc Orthotropics® can help improve facial and airway growth using conservative oral appliances.  To learn more, visit biobloc.org or Dr. Mike Cary to see if your child could benefit from orthotropics.

Dr Mike Cary is a general dentist in Sherwood, Oregon working with Oregon Sleep Associates to help children develop better airways utilizing Biobloc Orthotropics®.  Contact him at www.drmikecary.com or 503-925-9992.

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Sleep and Metabolic Syndrome

April 8th, 2013  / Author: Oregon Sleep Associates

mid section view of a man sitting on a bench in a park

In recent years, physicians and researchers have observed a growing percentage of the population afflicted with “Metabolic Syndrome”. The condition, which currently affects roughly 25% of the US adult population, refers to a group of risk factors that occur together and increase chances of coronary artery disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, kidney disease, and early mortality.  As more attention is given to ailment, its connections to sleep disorders are now being examined.

One of the greatest health risks to today’s population is obesity. Roughly one third of Americans are considered obese (Body Mass Index > 30) and that percentage is predicted to double by 2030. Obesity is the primary cause for development of metabolic syndrome and is also a primary risk factor for some sleep disorders. Sleep quality and quantity can greatly impact the elements that make up metabolic syndrome. Multiple studies have shown that Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a condition in which a sleeping person’s airway collapses repeatedly and causes disrupted slumber, leads to increased insulin resistance, stroke, heart attacks, and may contribute to weight gain.

Chronically shortened sleep duration may also wreck havoc with metabolism. Adults who sleep less than 6 hours per night have a 45% higher chance of having metabolic syndrome and for each hour less of sleep there is a .35 increase in BMI. Those with shortened sleep also have increased levels of the hormone Ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Coupled with daytime fatigue and a sedentary lifestyle, these influences can lead to obesity and increase the possibility of developing metabolic syndrome.

Fortunately, reversing metabolic syndrome is possible through lifestyle changes and medical intervention. Weight loss and exercise can help curb its effects and medications can be used to control blood sugar levels and heart disease. Properly treating sleep disorders can have dramatic effects on health in general and correcting the sleep disruptions caused by OSA may help to lessen the risks that become categorized as metabolic syndrome. If you are overweight, you may be at risk for this disorder. Talk to your doctor to learn more about how to address the problem through a process of lifestyle changes and medical treatment. Contact Oregon Sleep Associates to get screened for sleep disorders as part of this process.

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Exercise Lowers Apnea Levels and Benefits Sleep

March 14th, 2013  / Author: Oregon Sleep Associates

Exercising

The obesity epidemic sweeping our nation has dramatic effects on health. Exercising is not only a key component in losing weight, but it may also affect the severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and help you sleep at night.

Researchers enrolled forty-three sedentary and overweight adults aged 18-55 years with at least moderate untreated OSA in a 12-week study to evaluate the efficacy of exercise as a treatment for sleep apnea. The participants were divided into two groups: One met 4 times per week and performed 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, followed by resistance training twice a week. The other group was the control and met twice weekly to perform low-intensity exercises designed to increase whole-body flexibility. Both groups underwent sleep studies before and after the exercise trial to determine severity of apnea. The results of the trial, published in the journal SLEEP, showed that the group that exercised weekly experienced a moderate reduction in their Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), the measurement of the average number of breathing events per hour of sleep. The group that was limited to stretching did not experience this reduction.

Interestingly, the exercise group members did not experience any weight loss as a result of the exercise, suggesting the benefit of a reduced AHI was not in relation to losing weight. The researchers point out that further studies need to be done on this subject but speculate that “possible mechanisms of improvement in OSA following exercise training include a general strengthening and fatigue resistance of the ventilatory and upper airway dilator muscles, attenuation of respiratory instability from reduced sleep fragmentation, decreased nasal resistance, and prevention of lower-extremity fluid accumulation.”

Exercise is not a replacement for effective treatment such as CPAP or an oral appliance but a regular exercise program may help reduce your apnea severity.

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