Is Airway Health A Privilege?

I distinctly remember the first time my dental provider pointed out to me that my child had a tongue tie. It was unexpected, overwhelming and immediately followed up with fast explanations of why it mattered. The possible implications and mental standouts of symptoms she currently had made me want to take immediate action.

Yet, the treatment plan and suggested providers to contact was not in agreement with my bank account, budget or financial planning. How on Earth did “regular” people like myself afford thousands of dollars on appliances, therapies, bodywork, tests, and studies? Surely insurance was not footing the bill for most of these services, and monthly payments can easily dominate any family budget.

It occurred to me rapidly that it was not feasible for me to treat one child, much less all four, for this problem. In fact, I would need to take on another job in order to pay for the treatments.  Should you have the blessing of a financially stable home with access to significant disposable income then airway health can be yours. Airway health is not new to this concept, it is true that with most healthcare you can get exceptional results and care when you can afford it.

But does it have to be that way with airway health? Is it really a privilege? The short answer is an obvious yes. So how does the average, unconnected and unsuspecting person afford the entirety of the treatment plan and team? As a member of the interdisciplinary team that works to establish new neuromuscular patterning for proper oral resting posture, I have to seriously consider this in my practice. Especially if I am going to honestly acknowledge that if I was not apart of this team I personally would not be able to afford it.

A majority of people snore, need or have had braces and/or mouth-breathe. When a large percentage of the general population suffers from the same dysfunction, and I feel passionate about that dysfunction, then naturally I have to address it.

Let’s get basic! There are self-help manuals, books, and websites that aim to guide you in treating yourself as an alternative to working with a healthcare professional. While not ideal, and absolutely not guaranteed to get you results, it is a start.

Here are some resources to assist you on your self-help journey: (*Please note that none of the below options are a replacement for working with a medical/dental professional one-on-one. Simply helpful suggestions that may hold you over while you await your ability to professionally treat.)

  • I am a huge advocate for research. Here you can find my Pinterest list of books to read that offer you a significant amount of easy to digest information about airway dysfunction, implications, treatments and dietary suggestions.
  • Our e-book Myofunctional Made Better is available for download on Amazon, with a full 21-day program of dynamic myofunctional therapy.
  • You’re Breathing Wrong, the complete myofunctional therapy journal will guide you through a 10-week complete myofunctional therapy program. Also available on Amazon.
  • Alternatively, some patients have received relief from the Buteyko method of breathing.
  • I offer a course with a pre-frenectomy and post-frenectomy program that is entirely online and self-taught. This enables those who are incapable of affording one-on-one work with me or another myofunctional therapist, to prepare for and receive a frenectomy.
  • Gluten, dairy, sugar, soy and processed foods are known foods that cause inflammation in the body. If you exclude these products from your diet you may see positive changes.
  • Perform daily nasal hygiene to help decrease congestion and free the nasal passages to allow for better nasal breathing. Find my recommended routine here.
  • Inform your provider that you can not afford the entire treatment plan. Understand that interdisciplinary care is best and several providers go hand in hand to get the best results. However, ask for your provider’s recommendation as to what service to prioritize so you can budget while starting treatment.
  • Start early! Many of the manifestations of airway dysfunction can be intercepted early. If you are pregnant, planning to conceive or have a newborn, make plans to see an IBCLC and/or bodyworker as early as possible. For an excellent list of progressive providers across the nation visit Ankyloglossia Bodyworkers.

Regardless of what path you take in addressing your airway health, it is important that you address it. Do so reasonably and responsibly, because while airway health can be a privilege it does not have to be.

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