The ADA (American Dental Association) held its second revolutionary symposium: Optimizing Pediatric Airway Health: The Critical Role of Dentists in Chicago, IL on March 3-4, 2019. This symposium, the second in a series, addressed the growing awareness and scientific evidence behind the impact of sleep-related breathing disorders and their negative impact on pediatric airways.
KidZdent – based in Old Bridge, NJ – had the largest practice contingent in attendance, highlighting their ongoing commitment to continuing education and the quality of overall health in their patient population. Representing KidZdent were Pediatric Dentists, Dr. Cavan Brunsden, Dr. Hillary Khodari, and Dr. Brian Rooney; Orthodontists, Dr. Nancy Villa, and Dr. Mena Morgan; and Clinical & Leadership Staff, Irene Markunas, RDH, Jessica Gaeta, RDH, Keri Tallman, STC, and Mary Kennedy, MBA.
This year’s conference focused on key areas:
- Sleep Disordered Breathing and its negative impacts on growth & development
- Tongue Ties & Lip Ties and why your pediatric dentist is at the forefront of these diagnoses
- Helping children become Nose- Breathers to improve Quality of Life
Sleep-related breathing disorders are characterized as disruptions in normal breathing patterns. The disorders are potentially serious medical conditions caused by anatomical airway collapse and altered respiratory control mechanisms. Common disorders include snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 children exhibit one or more outward symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) such as:
“By expanding provider scope beyond the current concentration on dental disease, dentists will see their role in children’s overall health expand. With the growing awareness of airway issues in the profession and the public, getting a handle on this service is critical toward modernizing the dental practice in the 21st century,” issued the ADA.
In 2017, the ADA House of Delegates approved a policy statement addressing dentistry’s role in sleep-related breathing disorders, which developed as a result of a 2015 resolution. The adopted policy emphasizes that “dentists are the only health care provider with the knowledge and expertise to provide oral appliance therapy.”
Tissue tethers, more commonly referred to as tongue ties and lip ties, were discussed by professionals to learn more about the importance of early release for growth and development. In newborns, the baby’s failure to latch properly to effectively express milk from the breast may result in variety of symptoms including; weight loss, reflux, colic, projectile spitting, weak latch, clicking, congestion, gassiness, side mouth dribbling, and popping off breast to gasp for air. All of these lead to great frustration and fear of failure for the nursing mom in addition to cracked nipples, painful nursing, blocked ducts, Mastitis, and prolonged ineffective nursing sessions. Dr. Brunsden says, “I’ve been practicing for over 35 years and one of the most rewarding aspects of my career is hearing from new mothers that are finally able to successfully breastfeed their babies with a deep latch and without discomfort.”
In adults, untreated ties can result in a life of dental issues, sleep apnea, excessive snoring, compromised airways and other sleep-disordered breathing issues.
As an early adopter and believer of the benefits of tongue and lip tie releases, Dr. Brunsden of KidZdent, has performed surgical revisions for decades. Even now, he and his team of pediatric dentists recognize that there is more to be learned as the research finally catches up with real-world experience and application. Utilizing their latest technology, the LightScalpel CO2 Laser, revisions can be done with minimal pain in a matter of seconds at KidZdent. New methods of symptom-based diagnosis are encouraging doctors to address ties early in patient development. As the rest of the medical community digests the research and results of addressing tongue and lip ties, 21st century dentists, like those at KidZdent, will continue to be at the forefront of the issue.
Symposium speakers included Dr. Barry Raphael, head of the New Jersey-based Raphael Center of Integrative Orthodontics; Dr. Richard Baxter, founder and owner of the Alabama Tongue-Tie Center; and Ron Mitchell, M.D., professor and vice chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Dr. Susan Maples, DDS; nationally recognized speaker, and Dr. Steve Carstensen of the ADA who also served as symposium moderator.