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Airway Development Through Dental Appliance Therapy

We as dentists are very aware that our 21st century jaws are developing smaller. Modern humans’ facial structures are slowly shrinking, which can narrow the upper airway. This is evidenced by the fact that rates of malocclusion and impacted (or non-existent) wisdom teeth are increasing in modern, Westernized countries [1]. Sleep related disorders such as sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome are on the rise. Although rising levels of obesity heavily influences the increasing rates of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), detailed analysis of more basic etiology suggests a possible craniofacial origin [2]. The purpose of this article is to suggest that some of our lack of jaw development can be reversed in so called non-growing adults through oral appliance therapy and epigenetics resulting in better sleep and breathing.

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