HealthyStart is a form of complete health dentistry focused on treating overall health through oral health. Many people are surprised to learn that oral health is linked with other systemic conditions, including sleep apnea. However, an effective sleep dentist must be intimately aware of the oral-systemic link. This is especially true for children, as early intervention is critical in catching many oral and overall health issues before they get the chance to worsen.
Unlike traditional pediatric dentistry, which takes a more aggressive, oppositional approach, the HealthyStart System works with patients’ natural tooth eruption patterns. It achieves this via pliable, removable devices that are custom-made for each patient’s individual needs and comfort. These devices gently guide the erupting teeth into proper alignment. If necessary, they may also help correct the growth and alignment of the lower jaw by expanding the patient’s arches. By making these early corrections, children can avoid certain health problems later on.
Sleep-disordered breathing is a phenomenon that all too often goes unnoticed. Though often treated as an isolated condition, it is usually a root cause of many other symptoms a child may exhibit. Unfortunately, such symptoms are often misdiagnosed or missed entirely. These conditions result from airway disruption during sleep. When a patient’s airway is blocked, their body produces a choking response — leading to a higher heart rate, higher blood pressure, and lower oxygen levels.
Temporomandibular jaw disorders, better known as TMJ, can also affect a child’s sleep. These disorders occur when the temporomandibular joint has been damaged or is otherwise malfunctioning. They are also frequently associated with sleep apnea, which is caused by airway disruption. If left untreated, an obstructed airway will only narrow more over time.
HealthyStart dentists can help treat these sleeping issues by moving the upper and lower jaws forward. This opens the airway for maximum airflow while also encouraging mid-face growth and airway development.
Dentists are often the first to recognize the signs of obstructive sleep apnea in children, as skeletal and soft tissue growth both affect the size and shape of the upper airway. Tonsil size can also be a telltale indicator of sleep apnea.
As the airway’s skeletal boundaries expand, the upper airway’s major lymphatic tissues (the adenoids and tonsils) shrink. If the skeletal boundaries are abnormal, then orthodontics (also known as braces) may become necessary.
However, traditional braces can be invasive and expensive — and it is not uncommon for some orthodontists to mistakenly tell parents that it is too early for their children to undergo treatment. The HealthyStart System is a non-invasive, natural alternative to straightening teeth and correcting skeletal irregularities. It is also, on average, almost half the cost of traditional braces.
A HealthyStart dentist can fit a child for custom-made orthodontic devices to gently but permanently guide the teeth into place, eliminating the possibility of any unnecessary dental or sleep issues in the future.
Sleep is arguably the most essential part of everyday life, especially during the stages of early development. There are two sleep stages: Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM). NREM is sometimes called "quiet" sleep.
Deep states of NREM sleep increases blood supply to the muscles, restores energy, and releases essential hormones for growth and development. Tissue growth and repair also occur during this state. REM sleep, also known as "active" sleep, is the dreaming stage of sleep. The brain becomes active, and the body becomes immobile, with irregular breathing and heart rates.
A healthy sleeping schedule is imperative to ensure proper physical, mental, and emotional development. It can be difficult or even impossible for children with disordered sleep to get enough sleep. At least one study has found that six-year-old children with a pattern of short sleep duration at age 2.5 had higher levels of specific cognitive deficits and hyperactivity in comparison to their peers. Though research in this field is still emerging, the existing literature makes it evident that there is a relationship between sleep and childhood development.
Yes. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your child’s risk for a wide array of cardiovascular conditions. These include high blood pressure, hypertrophy of the right side of the heart, and low blood flow to the lungs. It may also heighten your child’s risk of depression, speech problems, and poor physical growth.
Yes. Research shows that children with moderate to severe sleep problems are more than 12 times likely to develop ADD/ADHD. However, it is not uncommon for HealthyStart patients to experience a significant improvement in mathematics, science, and spelling.
It is possible. Perfectly aligned baby teeth often do not leave adequate room for the larger permanent teeth to erupt. As such, their permanent teeth may need to adjust to fit. Using a HealthyStart appliance can help ensure that your child’s teeth come in straight while naturally expanding the arch. Additionally, when the teeth grow in straight, the fiber bundles anchoring them to the mouth will leave little room for relapse — meaning the teeth will likely stay straight throughout adulthood.
Unfortunately, it is very unlikely for children’s teeth to correct themselves. Many times, their conditions often worsen, while viable treatment options narrow as they age. Early intervention can help fix these problems before they become more severe.
HealthyStart appliances are customized to fit every patient’s mouth. Let us know if your child has any allergies before we create the device, and we will do our best to accommodate these needs. The appliances are also specifically designed to be bite-proof to ensure maximum efficacy.