September 9, 2013 at 1:52 am #12477
I’m curious about palate expansion. After doing some research, it seems that some people feel they derive real benefit from it. My specific issues are restricted airways and not enough room for my tongue in the roof of my mouth. My whole breathing/tongue situation is just always uncomfortable. I’m not sure if it’s from nutritional issues, not unlikely since I was vegan and veg and/or undereating for a lot of my formative years, or due to chronic mouth breathing from about age 13 when I started smoking weed and became a slack jawed stupid dummy…. which I’ve now completely recovered from btw. Regardless, the idea of having more room in my mouth sounds awesome right now. Some people report feeling like they finally feel comfortable with their bite, breath easier, or even just feel more comfortable in their body and posture, all of which are uncomfortable for me. I’m not hoping for a miracle, but it would be nice if my mouth and breathing felt comfortable for what remaining years I have to live with it all.
The most interesting method looks to me like the Alternative Lightwire Functionals system, or ALF. It is worn on the inside. You see an osteopath at the same time as the orthodontist. The system aims to nudge the teeth and jaws around without inhibiting the tongue in any way because it’s very low profile. The Osteopath is supposed to insure that everything else in your head and body adjusts properly around the jaw adjustments, so that it all holds once the appliances are removed. At least that is my understanding. It seems like the most holistic approach, aiming at the broadest functionality of the whole body.
Has anyone gone through this process? Any horror stories, success stories or anything else? It’s fairly expensive. Not sure how I can come up with the money.September 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm #12492
Hi Steven e,
Are you looking to create room to replace bicuspids (or any other teeth) that were previously extracted?
Do you feel like your tongue needs more space on the sides or from the front?
How is your bit currently?
Do you have any TMJ/TMD issues?
Have you previously been treated with orthodontics?
Do you have any pain issues, particularly regarding your upper body?September 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm #12493
Thanks for your interest Leighton. I have one missing molar from a root canal extraction last year, and no wisdom teeth. I wasn’t planning on replacing anything. My teeth are fairly straight and nice looking. No previous treatment with orthodontics. My mother was in the 99th percentile of health consciousness when I was growing up in the 70’s I ate multivitamins everyday, brewers yeast (yeauk) mostly whole foods, plenty of food available all the time. I did still have some cavities, but old pictures indicate pretty good development. In high school, I had adequate food less of the time and was vegetarian and/or vegan from I think 16 to 19 or so. After that, still not eating so well for much of my 20s. Started mouth breathing in my teens.
My tongue feels crowded from the sides. Seems like there is plenty of room in front. I would say slight overbite, but I don’t really know how these things are judged. I think the last dentist to comment said my bite was not too bad. I don’t feel particularly comfortable with my jaw closed. It takes effort and doesn’t feel natural as some people who have had palate expansion claim that they feel afterward, like the mouth wants to, and is more comfortable, being closed. Same with the bite. It doesn’t feel comfortable. If my tongue has its way, like when I’m not paying attention for a while, I find it hanging down, often resting between my teeth at both the front and sides. Even a small amount of mucous, or sinus irritation, dryness, etc… makes it hard to maintain nose breathing, and even at it’s best, it’s not super comfortable for me. My nostrils also feel crowded and partially closed or collapsed. All that said, I still manage to nose breath the vast majority of the time, but it’s not just by habit, I still have to work at it.
No TMJ. The last dentist I saw, who actually does ALF but who I won’t be using, pointed out that my jaw doesn’t open evenly when I open wide. It used to lock open sometimes when I yawned, but hasn’t for a very long time. Now, if I open really wide, I have to sort of click it to the side to close again and the right side pops a little.
I’ve had neck and head tension issues, lower back issues (sometimes severe), upper back pinches and kinks of all kinds pretty frequently since my teens. Just getting over an upper back spasm related to left shoulder pain that seemed to evolve out of nowhere. I did jump off a 4 foot stage and land flat on my back once when I was maybe 16, which definitely screwed up the whole lot for a while (stage diving, make sure someone is there to catch you!) Xrays later in life have indicated no structural damage. I have slight scoliosis according to a chiropractor.September 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm #12509
I’m sorry that you’re having these issues, but I think that you have a lot of things working in your favor. The fact that you have never had any teeth extracted (other than your wisdom teeth), nor have you had orthodontic treatment, this is probably a really good thing. If you choose to go this route, the doctor will not have to essentially undo any previous work/treatment. This will cut down on treatment time and potentially expense.
Regarding ALF…keep in mind that although this is a great option, there are many other appliances that function in a similar manner. Twin Block, Schwartz, and Homeoblock are just a small few of the other options available. Also, keep in mind that many/most doctors will want to finish treatment (after utilizing the appliance of choice ) with braces (often Damon braces).
If you are going to have an issue, a small overbite (I said small) is actually one of the most treatable with these appliances. Underbites are a killer to treat non-surgically.
Just one recommendation. Please make sure that your expectations are realistic. I think surgery should always be the last option. However, if you need substantial movements in any direction (which it actually sounds like you don’t), particularly in reference to the maxilla (upper jaw), your best bets are probably distraction osteogenesis, SARPE (surgically assisted rapid palatal expansion), and/or orthognathic surgery.
Mouth problems are the pits…all the best, and please let me know if there is anything at all that I can do to help.September 10, 2013 at 1:37 am #12510
Thanks for the input and offer to help. How do you know so much about this stuff? Have you had it done? There isn’t a wealth of information out there, but I’m mostly concerned with patient responses. I’ve noted for a long time a trend for health care professionals to be way over confident in their ability to help people, whatever their intention or level of integrity. And also, that they find ways to make it seem like whatever they did actually did help more than it really did, or that it was just the patients fault somehow if it didn’t. The patient responses to palate widening that I could find seemed mostly satisfactory to very good, so that’s encouraging. Also, the people that did respond really well saw improvements in exactly the issues I have.
I was realizing doing some research last night, that there are a lot of devices and options out there. It sounds like ALF proponents like to use that system when possible because of the fact that it doesn’t interfere with the tongue at all and it sounds relatively comfortable. I actually was thinking that I should make sure the ortho is not religiously attached to just that system. The Ortho I talked to sounds pretty great. She’s an elderly sounding lady that works closely in the same office with an osteopath couple. Both answered the phone personally and were very willing to talk. The ortho wants to do a free consult/assessment, but I might have to pay an initial with the osteopaths. The osteopath also told me that it cleared issues for her that her osteopath husband could never clear.
I will try to go into it with little expectation. It seems worth the risk and cost though since I have to breathe and swallow and live with my mouth for the rest of my life 24/7. I don’t think I would go the surgery route, or be able to afford it.September 10, 2013 at 2:43 pm #12526
I say all of this with no regret. Granted, I probably would have done things a little differently–live and learn.
Yes, about 10 years ago, I was fortunate enough to work with an extremely talented ALF doctor. I was put in the Twin Block, which for my case, it made perfect sense. After just 2 weeks of wearing the Twin Block (24 hour/day) my joints essentially stabilized. This was crazy amazing. I went from having a jaw that clicked on both the left and right side upon opening, to a jaw that opened smoothly, evenly, and silently (no clicking). Great, right? Yea, I thought so, until I developed crippling headaches and facial pain. Initially, I was not concerned. I thought this was just part of the process (sometimes things have to get worse before they get better). Several months later, there was still no change. I dropped 30 pounds in a heartbeat, my head was killing me, and my face burned like a mother fucker. The doctor was so concerned, and felt so bad. Most of the patients that he had previously worked with experienced an almost immediate relief of symptoms, and I was getting worse. He referred me to another doctor, who referred me to another doctor, who referred me to another doctor, etc. Everyone thought that my new bite was the reason that I was in so much pain. Fortunately, it turned out, that had nothing to do with it. As soon as someone thought to put me in a really small appliance, the pain went away in a matter of a few weeks. Apparently, when the body senses a large, obtrusive object in your mouth, the natural reaction is often to expel the object with whatever means necessary. For me, this meant clenching my teeth horribly at night (my body was apparently trying to break the Twin Block). In retrospect, this explains why I was going through a new appliance every few months (not normal). Also, the Twin Block changed my bite…permanently. This is both good and bad. My jaw is in better shape than ever, but my teeth no longer fit together properly. I will most likely be having orthognathic surgery (to correct my now messed up bite), which was never part of the original plan.
Keep in mind, I would do this all again. I almost did not write this, because I would never want to deter anyone from going this route. Also, the ALF is far less cumbersome (and far more comfortable) than the Twin Block. With the Twin Block (the one I was initially in), I had no tooth on tooth contact. Your molars rest on acrylic pieces, which were what helped stabilize my joints, but also caused so many other problems. I just can’t imagine how anyone would experience problems like these with the ALF.
Best of luck with whatever direction you take. I just want to reiterate, that from the information that you provided, you really do sound like at great candidate for the ALF.September 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm #12527
Thanks for the feedback. I’m definitely interested in the whole negative and positive feedback. You’ve probably read all the threads out there on the net about this stuff. I only remember one guy being all negative. Almost everyone else has at least something positive to say. I’ll be sure to drill my docs on how many negative outcomes and non-responders they have. That information is rarely offered. I’m definitely hoping ALF works as it seems the least obtrusive, although I do understand that it might have to be followed up by something else.
What positive effects did you see… or problems remedied?September 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm #12550
I didn’t go into treatment for any bite issues/discomfort. I never had to deal with an overbite, underbite or cross bite. Both my mouth and lips have always closed w/o strain. My tongue rests easily and comfortably in my mouth. I always easily breath through my nose (except when I’m having sex or doing brutal high intensity interval work). I sleep with my mouth shut, and don’t snore.
I strictly went into this for mad bad jaw issues. I had a really strong sensation of pressure in my joints, which is now 100% remedied. My jaw went from clicking on both the left and right side every single time I opened my mouth to not making a single noise for 7 years after treatment. The last 3 years my jaw has been clicking, very mildly, on the left.
I also used to have really bad pain/tightness/pressure/burning in the right temple area and also where the masseter comes up to the coronoid process (mid way cheekbone, on the underside). This is probably like 90% better. (These pain issues were only on the right side.)
I had neck problems before, and I still have neck problems now. Nothing better, nothing worse.
Let me know if I can answer any more questions.August 5, 2014 at 10:47 am #17185KnoppeParticipant
I wrote a response in the fibro article a week ago regarding a possible connection between dental problems and fibro. I wrote a monster comment but decided that I’d rather point to some interesting links instead and it ended up being yet another monster post wall of text from hell. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
I’m curretly undergoing treatment with ALF:s and bracers in both jaws. I’ve battled brain fog, pain, tinnitus and more. I’d say I’m 70% better after one year of treatment and I have at least 6 months to go. I’m 31 years old and male.
In conjunction with my orthodontic treatment I’ve had two neurocranial restructuring treatments and been doing some so called “face pulling” and I just recieved “The crane” from my dentist. Looking at my face there’s been quite dramatic changes but still, I don’t care much about my apperance. My aim is getting 100% better. Remember that I’m only a patient and this is my point of view from the information I’ve gathered and my experiences. Please do your own due dilligence before doing anything that might mess you up.
My aim is to point people in the right direction. Not two faces are the same, so to speak, and treatment will depend on ones problems (as with everything). I highly recommend seeing a pro to get diagnosed. With pro I mean a FUNCTIONAL orthodontist with a good track record. In my country there is none that I’m aware of and I go to a dentist in a neighbouring country.
There is a commonly missed link between health problems and a misaligned bite/cranial distortions. There are quite a few categories of people and treatment/troubleshooting is depending on the persons history and problems. I myself am not certain that fixing the face is the answer to all problems. That’s why I’m taking the nutritional approach aswell. I like doing one thing at a time to get a chance to evaluate progress.
Traditional orthodontics are crap. I was lucky enough to avoid them but I’ve talked to a number of unlucky people who’ve been unfortunate enough to have had their faces destroyed by extraction and/or backward movement of the teeth and facial bones.
My advice would be to avoid anyone who only talks about straightening the teeth. This is secondary to leveling the bite and helping proper facial development.
To fix ones face, one has to consider the teeth as an extension of the skull. An unleveled bite plane due to cranial distortions will over time produce crooked teeth. Straightening the teeth won’t help the skull.
Some people have been in car accidents and have strict cranial problems. Like this fine gentleman:
Some have problems because of previous orthodontic treatment (that’s right) like these guys:
Some are messed up because. Well. Because:
(Dr.Mike Mew – Melting faces)
And some people have tourettes:
(DR.Brendan Stack and his treatment of tourettes patients)
If one has a melted face or has undergone orthodontic treatment, there are quite a few things one can do to reverse the lengthening of the face (yeah, why the long face?). One has to consider the face and skull in a 3 D fashion.
*Expand the dental arches to get proper molar support (see dental distress syndrome http://www.biologicaldentalhealth.com/Data/Dental_Stress_TMJ_Malocclusion_Pain_Disease_Illness.pdf. With a functional appliance like advanced lightwire functionals/bioblock and/or SELF LITIGATING bracers like delta force or damon.
*Move the maxilla forward (The Crane, FaceMax etc.)
*Loosen up the soft tissue in the skull and get the bones more aligned with cranial therapies such as neurocranial restructuring (http://www.drdeanhowell.com/)
*Learn proper tongue posture and how to swallow correctly (check out orofacial myology.
I’m shot guning this by doing all of the above and am also getting ROLFED (All in, right?).
There is no guarantee that this will solve all of my problems (or yours) and you might even not need all of the above. I had a seriously messed up bite (overbite, deep and open). Hello brain fog and depression!
Some people prefere to self treat and to do it without supervision. I don’t and I can’t recommend it even though people seem to make good progress. I have faith in both my ortho and and in my NCR practitioner (who by the way has had an amazing journey, check out ncr-uk.com).
We’ll see where I’ll be at a year from here. As long as I can do sports, feel healthy and don’t have the darned spasms, subluxations and brain fog I’m content. So far it looks promising but I do have some major tweaks to do in my diet which is the reason I’m reading Matt’s and other likeminded peoples stuff.
Oh and also. Yes. Your face will change from the treatment. More prominent cheekbones,rounded face, more set eyes and so on and so forth. I don’t really care about my looks. I just want peace of mind.
I’m making good progress and if this fails then I’ll just have to tweak my approach or try something different. I will say this though. NCR has made huge shifts in my posture and the dental expansion has opened up my sinuses. I can now breathe through my nose. Also, the molar build ups i have made a HUGE difference. From not being able to walk fast, I was able to run to the buss after five days (this was huge to me).
August 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm #17192
- This reply was modified 8 years, 1 month ago by Knoppe. Reason: I r spell bad
I still have the same problems with breathing and tongue position etc.. and am still hoping to do ALF. I started the process, seeing the osteopath to get me loosened up for the treatment, but got sidelined looking into some autoimmune issues. I have so much inflammation, muscle weakness and fatigue most of the time lately, that it hampers my progress in anything else. I want to have some momentum when I start this whole process. The NCR sounds interesting. There is a practitioner within 125 miles, so I might add that to the list. Finances are a problem. If I had unlimited money, I’d probably do NCR right now and maybe even start the ortho, but as it is, I want to maximize my dollar value by doing things at the right time. So, I have to address inflammation first and I’m also looking into hormone balancing. I wouldn’t be surprised if cranial facial stuff helped those problems, but my gut feeling is that it’s more likely my gut.
If I feel like I can get some momentum, I’ll be practicing Gokhale method stuff for circulation posture and just more engaged physical function, possibly NCR (thanks) and Rolfing (expense only, otherwise I’d be doing it already), ALF with osteopathic adjustment (a team that works together) and hopefully at least some consult time on orofacial myology stuff. I can hardly wait to get started. I’m tired of this crowded palate situation and want to breathe easier and have something closer to a proper form.
The Self NCR thing is tempting, but it sounds like it could be sometimes dangerous. There are at least a couple negative outcomes out there floating around in cyberspace. I might look at the face pulling too, probably once I get started with ALF and talk to my ortho. I’m intrigued by anything I can cob together at home. I was wondering actually what would happen if I just started doing the face pulling now. hmmm… Either way, I will try to have it together to document facial and arch changes. I might even shave, so I can photograph my actual face, which would be a first (ever), but think of that great data! Must suffer for progress.
Thanks for your input. I’d like to hear more about your results if there is anything interesting to share.November 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm #17420MaxzillaParticipant
Knoppe: bro, I would like to talk with you. Please respond.
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