3 hidden benefits of clear aligner therapy relating to airway health

Clear aligners are becoming increasingly popular. Are you aware that by offering clear aligner therapy (CAT), you may also help patients breathe, sleep, and thrive? Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder.1 According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans are suffering from OSA, with two-thirds of the moderate to severe cases remaining undiagnosed.2 Recently, dentists have been called upon by the ADA as the “only health professionals” with the experience to prescribe oral appliance therapy.3 The question is, should CAT be considered an oral appliance to combat sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)? This article will review the three essential hidden benefits of CAT that may help patients breathe better while also giving them a beautiful smile:

1. Changing the morphology of the arch form and width

2. Increasing oral cavity volume

3. Proper tongue placement

Changing morphology of arch form and width

If we take the time to disclose the cause of disease, we can then focus on proper treatment modalities. The root cause of most crowded malocclusions is a result of three conditions: improper arch form, improper arch width, and improper buccolingual inclination (figure 1).