Airway Matters Most

I am going to say something shockingly obvious: Breathing is the most important thing, ever.  It affects everything: quality of life, immunity, even lifespan (read: how long you live). It is the single most important thing in this life…because it literally allows us to function. Much of how we breathe comes down to the quality and size of the airway (the nasal passages, sinuses, and related anatomical structures). And much of this gets shaped and determined early in life. The importance of having an optimized airway so that breathing is easy and effortless cannot be overstated. Up until relatively recently, it was believed that genetics largely determined what bone structure and shape of the face would be like. It was once thought that crooked teeth and a recessed jaw were an unfortunate genetic result for some. While genetics do play a role, it is not that simple and there is much more to this story. We are learning that our genetics will allow for properly positioned jaws and teeth (and a patent airway as a result) if the environmental factors are favorable, and the right habits are practiced. I love working with and fixing teeth; I always have. But the issues surrounding airway, are, frankly much more important.  Not only that but is has been shown that under development of the jaws contributes to problems of the teeth and gums (the main bulk of what I treat every day as a dentist). Much of the time I am in the position of fixing problems when they have already happened. But I want to prevent these problems in the first place. Understanding jaw development and its effects on breathing is a big part of that.

How we breathe is so important that it is changing the way dental treatment is approached and planned. Increasingly more people are taking notice and the public is learning about it, too. James Nestor wrote of this in his book, Breath. Make it a point to read this book; its excellent and explains a lot of these issues in more detail. It used to be that when someone came into our office with crooked or crowded teeth that we simply did what we needed to do to get the teeth straight.  This could include several techniques including removing otherwise healthy teeth to create enough room or pushing teeth rearward in the mouth to gain space. Up until recently we were not as aware of the negative effects of straightening teeth in this way. And now we know that everything that we do, whether straightening teeth with orthodontics or fixing someone’s smile with dental work can have a huge impact on a patient’s airway and as a result, their breathing.  

In our office we use Myobrace as one tool to help kids develop their jaws to their full genetic potential. Some think of this as a preventative orthodontic appliance, and it is. It certainly does promote great orthodontic benefits because it helps to develop and shape jaws that will naturally accommodate the adult teeth. This is a wonderful side effect of treatment.  And yet I think of Myobrace as being a preventative program, with the main goal of creating the best airway possible for the patient as they grow. My goal with Myobrace is to play a key role in the prevention of the conditions that have become all too common in our society: allergies, frequent sinus and tonsil infections, sleep apnea and a host of other conditions. Whether we realize it or not, all these problems have something in common- an inadequate airway.  Myobraceis a great way to stimulate the optimal growth and development of the jaws and as a result an optimal airway.

If you are in North Carolina or surrounding states and interested in learning more about Myobrace, I recommend visiting You can also arrange a consult at to discuss this treatment. Virtual consults are also available for patients travelling from longer distances. To set this up contact us through our online schedule portal at or call us at 919.753.1280.

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