Medically Indicated Breathing / Airway Care - Dr. Duane Grummons DDS, MSD

posted Feb 2, 2017, 11:45 PM by Admin SRSAN   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 11:56 PM ]

The behavioral and neuro-cognitive sequelae of poor sleep are well documented.  The physical co-morbidities of bad sleep are numerous and well documented. Sleepiness in adults and hyperactivity in children are well recognized and are a menace to our society. How many children could learn and behave better with a good night’s rest, and how many adult car, bus, train, and boat accidents could be prevented by good sleep?    

By the time a person succumbs to sleep apnea, it is way too late to do anything simple and preventive except to CPAP mask (pun intended) the problem, or do jaw surgery, or wear a mouth appliance forever which is only a crutch to relieve some symptoms.  

Making sleep and breathing screening a priority in our young patients (with early screening and treatment protocols) will lessen the risk factors for sleep disorder consequences well before we get to crisis management.

Medically Indicated Screening intercepts breathing / sleep / brain function  compensations (bad habits) which typically lead to poor facial growth and altered airway development. We can help these young patients by equipping parents and teachers to screen the children, and for dental / medical colleagues to be physicians of the face. As part of an interdisciplinary team, we can change the outcomes of bad breathing for children so they need not get to the point where they can’t sleep well, behave and learn optimally, and thrive in adulthood.

Protocols are available which can be easily inserted into schools, and into a pediatric and orthodontic practice to deal with these issues. While new learning and some re-tooling is needed, the biggest obstacle is the revision of orthodox beliefs about how it can’t be done. It can be done and is being done; get on board.

To summarize, medical and learning consequences occur when a child cannot breathe through the nose, or cannot hold their lips together without strain, cannot keep the tongue resting on the palate, or cannot swallow without having to recruit facial muscles to help.

The medical indications for overall health are when a child has poor body posture, eats foods that are challenging to the body, does not breathe well enough to efficiently support proper metabolism and brain function, and the child does not get a good, restorative night of sleep. Note that none of these conditions has anything to do with how crooked the teeth are.

When we together, as parents, teachers, medical/dental professionals and as a society, can take responsibility for these medical indications, we will then observe much healthier people (the youth especially) who thrive.

Dr. Duane Grummons
Board Certified in Facial Orthopedics and Orthodontics