So, A Few Weeks Ago . . .
Dr. Liao and I dished about my Brad Pitt obsession, how facial structure affects your child’s health, and why sometimes orthodontics can do more harm than good. Boy-oh-boy did you have questions! Read below to find out if pacifiers/binkies are helpful or harmful, what causes teeth grinding, how to find a holistic dentist and more!
Palate Expansion For Kids
So, when you take your kids in to get their palate expanded, is there a special type of palate expansion, or just the regular one that all orthodontists use? Anyone had any experience with this? ~ A.B.
Dr. Liao: The more dental-facial asymmetry, the more I lean toward DNA appliance. Those include one eye or ear higher, head tilt, uneven shoulders, deviated nose, and one side of the palate narrower than the other. Otherwise, conventional expanders will do.
“I would love to know what treatment an adult can do to correct teeth grinding. I have never had a brace but grind my teeth terrible and it has caused me no end of issues. My teeth are being destroyed from it! What treatment would Dr Liao have a patient do? Thank you! Also is there a worldwide database of Dentists who practice like this?” ~Gittele
“I second the teeth grinding question. I’ve tried so many treatments (yoga, exercise, running, acupressure, essential oils) and mouth guards, and ultimately spent a lot of money. But none of it has been a permanent solution. My current mouth guard I have to wear every night. If I forget to put it in, I get migraines, damaged teeth and very tense jaw/neck/shoulder muscles, not to mention I wake up everyone else in the house. Doctors and dentists keep saying that the usual cause is stress, but I would not consider myself stressed at all (despite what they say, I think I would know). I feel like there has to be some underlying cause that no one is looking for!” ~ Brianne
Dr. Liao: Teeth grinding interests me a great deal because it makes no sense that the body would mutilate itself. In a nutshell, leading edge thinking now says teeth grinding is a brain event expressed dentally. The event is called low oxygen from airway insufficiency from the obstruction by the tongue because the mouth is too small for the tongue. Think of the tongue as a 6 foot tiger in a 3-foot cage formed by under-developed jaws (often with crowded teeth or extraction for braces). Lying down causes the tongue to fall into the throat when the jaws are underdeveloped and/or positioned too closed to the neck. After a while, the body cables the brain to say, “We are starving for oxygen. Do something fast! Anything!” The brain then does the only thing it can: move the lower jaw to get the tongue out of the throat.
So Brianne is right. There is some other cause. Teeth grinding is actually CPR being done by the body to itself in response to Code Blue (oxygen starvation). Expanding the 3 foot cage (jaws) to accommodate the 6 foot tiger is the only way to make peace for the body and the brain. My upcoming book will discuss this in detail. [Note from Mommypotamus: This makes perfect sense to me. However, sometimes a symptom can have more than one root cause. Nutritional deficiencies (esp. magnesium and calcium) and pinworms have also been implicated as causes of teeth grinding.]
No, there is no world wide directory yet. Click here to search for a trained practitioner near you.
“I’m curious about pacifiers/binkies. Is there research or evidence suggesting whether they are helpful/harmful? I’ve used one with my son because he really always wants it. When he was younger I gave it to him because I wanted him to breathe through his nose instead of through his mouth. So with all the talk about nose breathing, I’m just curious about your opinion on binkies/pacifiers.” ~ Trish
“I second the pacifier question – I know that the children who were photographed by Price had perfect teeth and probably were nursed ’til they were three or four, but pacifiers are probably different than real nipples. I’d love to hear a professional opinion!” ~ A.B.
Dr. Liao: I have no experience or research for pacifiers. But they strike me as a substitute for thumb/finger sucking, which is an attempt by the child to self-relieve tensions in the cranial (skull) bones. The best solution is to find a doctor in your community who does cranial work, e.g. an osteopath, chiropractor, or cranio-sacral therapist. One new born would spit up after nursing and then cry all night. This went on for 2 months and both parents were exhausted. It took one visit to the osteopath to resolve the problem completely, and never to return. Releasing the jammed skull bones helps reduce the start of malocclusion (bad bite).
[Note from Mommypotamus: This is very interesting to me. Micah was an avid thumb sucker until he had surgery to correct his tongue tie – in fact the pic I shared right before the surgery is one of him sucking his thumb! From that point forward, though, he never did it again. I always wondered why until now!]
Treatments For Mouth Breathing
“What does one do to correct mouth breathing in kids? I feel this is part of the reason for my son’s tooth decay because he doesn’t close his mouth for saliva to do its job.” ~ Beka
Yes, mouth breathing contributes to cavities by drying up saliva and and with it the protection against decay. Correction is to first identify source of allergies from food first. The most frequent culprits are diary, wheat, soy, sugar (esp. HFCS, high fructose corn syrup — look up www.mercola.com). Avoid anything cold at meal time: ice water, cold milk, frozen desserts, etc. Cold slows digestion which contributes to gut stagnancy and leads to intestinal inflammation which then shows up in the respiratory tract, including tonsillitis and sinusitis. You might also consider checking the home for mold.
“I would to know more about fixing sleep apnea with this device [the DNA Appliance]. My husband uses a CPAP at night and would love to stop using it, but is exhausted when does. Can you really fix this problem, what is involved and how long does it usually take? Thanks for all the helpful info!” ~ Monica
It depends on the severity of his sleep apnea. In non-severe cases (AHI score lower than 30), DNA appliance works well. In severe cases, active effort to lose weight, avoid all dairy, wheat, soy, and sugar (especially High Fructose Corn Syrup) is essential. Avoid processed food completely for a month and check results. “Diseases which cannot be treated through diet are incurable with any medicine”, said Hippocrates in 450 BC. Eat a light dinner by 6 PM and go to bed by 10 PM. There are two types of dental sleep appliances. DNA appliance widens jaws to make room for the tongue in the mouth, whereas Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) because they move the lower jaw forward (and the tongue with it) during sleep only. MAD does not expand the jaws and thus serves as a “crutch” without treating the cause of under-sized jaws, but it is effective in mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. MAD does not move teeth, whereas DNA does. So DNA appliance has a second part to it for locking in the orthopedic gains from widening the jaws. DNA appliance does help patients breathe better during the day.
“I had a bionator (I think that was what it was called) as a child. It worked so well to correct a very severe overbite. However, I still have a very deep bite. I probably could have had it corrected as a child, but we moved away from the only dentist who addressed these issues. Also, my second little boy had tongue tie, and a very rough birth. Is there anything that I should be doing for him? (he is 3 now) He also has an overbite and a very deep bite. Is the bionator a good option when he gets older? It was such an easy and painless fix for me as a child, but I don’t know it is what is “best”. I don’t have any jaw problems, but I do notice that I have become more of a mouth breather as I have gotten older. I have also recently noticed that my head is definitely jutting out and causing headaches and neck aches. This is all so fascinating for me, and I have a ton of questions!” ~ Mandy
Bionator is good for deep bite correction, but there are other ways, too. Be sure your 3 year old is able to breathe through his nose, and that he does not [still] have a tongue tie. Forward neck and backward head tilt is a sign of airway insufficiency
Palate Expansion For Adults
“Such an interesting post – thanks Mommypotamus and Dr. Liao! My question is, what can one do to correct such problems later on in life? I am 22 and have terrible neck, back and shoulder pain which I believe stems from my jaw, which aches and clicks and always feels tense. I had dental overcrowding and underwent palate expansion as a teenager, but I feel my jaw wasn’t quite expanded enough as my mouth still feels crowded, I have a slight over-jet and my wisdom teeth have come through all wrong (upper two growing out towards my cheek, bottom two towards the other teeth). Is it too late to correct these problems, and if not what would you recommend?” ~ Mali Korsten
No, it’s not too late. 22 is still on the good side of 40. Stem cells in the ligaments that anchor teeth to the jaws can be triggered into making bone at any age. Neck, shoulder and back pain is the price paid for misaligned jaws and bite. Such pain goes away naturally when the jaws and bite are put in the right place, i.e. in harmony with head and neck. Dental crowding and clicking jaw joints are other common features of misaligned head-jaws-neck. Properly designed DNA appliance can fix that, followed braces to lock in the orthopedic gains.
How To Find A Holistic Dentist
“My question is where and how to find such practitioners. I have called everywhere in my state with no success, I found one holistic dentist however she would not take children.”
Here are some tips forfinding a holistic dentist in your area(some are considered holistic simply because they use biocompatible materials, others have more advanced training such as Dr. Liao). Ramiel Nagel, whose protocol I used toheal Katie’s cavities, also has some great resources for finding a holistic dentisthere.
Still have questions? Wonderful! Leave a comment below and it may be covered in a future post!