Often times, it is easy to disregard the significance of a single conversation, never mind the profound impact it can have on an entire profession, a specific medical field, and perhaps even the world. Such an impactful conversation took place in 2009, when two very successful dentists and iconoclastic visionaries, Dr. Gelb and Dr. Hindin, were able to conceive a novel way of looking at dental pathology. They decided to shine light through an entire new prism: Airway Centric®.
The effects of this conversation produced powerful, redounding ripples across the field of dentistry. Ultimately, from the seeds of this conversation sprouted a bountiful harvest including the creation of AirwayCentric® (philosophy, appliances and education), the American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry (AAPMD), the Foundation for Airway Health, and the book, GASP: Airway Health; The Hidden Path to Wellness, along with the terms “Hidden Airway”, “Connecting the Dots”, White Flag Event” and “Airway for All.”
One of the major tenets established by Dr. Gelb and Dr. Hindin was the imminent need for a paradigm shift in the field of dentistry. Their vision is a recalibration of the focus that medical provider direct: rather than treating the side effects of pathology, one should aim for direct remediation on the pathology itself! In other words, instead of simply fixing the visible symptoms (dental malocclusion, allergy problems, mouth breathing, improper chewing / swallowing, mandibular protrusion, etc.) there must be a recognition that those symptoms are an effect, however significant they may be, of a greater cause; usually an insidious underlying problem. One that traditional medicine often overlooks.
Drs. Gelb and Hindin understood the necessity of directing attention to an open airway, or a patient’s ability to breathe effectively, before anything else. It is only through a patent airway that we can access the essential nutrient for life; oxygen. With myofunctional therapy, much like orthodontics and general dentistry, each provider must realize that, “Without the airway problem ever being discovered by patient or practitioner, interventions produced only symptomatic and temporary relief.”1 When people develop pathology due to a compromised ability to breathe, structural compensation and tissue deformation follow sequentially, as every living organism needs oxygen to live. Breathing is an indispensable function, without equal, as every living creatures need for air supersedes water and food intake; respectively in order of importance. Regardless of the cause of compromised oxygen intake due to: either tongue-tie, habituation of mouth breathing, deformation due to genetic factors, or impaired reflex development, the inability to secure an ample amount of oxygen all the way down to the cellular level destroys, inhibits, and retards our ability to grow and function optimally.