Dr. Sara Viernes-Chisler Becomes Qualified Orofacial Myologist

I am not an alternative dentist.

I am beginning to see more patients in my office who are looking for assistance in addressing dental, airway, and facial development challenges in their children’s development. These challenges are often related to an expanding field of airway dentistry and dental sleep medicine. These challenges often present themselves as crowded teeth, tongue ties, a reliance on mouth breathing, restless sleep, Attention Deficit Disorder, and parent’s feeling “something is not quite right”.

To be clear, this is not alternative dental medicine. I am a dentist, a health informatician, and interprofessionally trained practitioner.  The art and science of my profession are inextricably linked in the complexities of human development. Although I am focused in the mouth, it does not exist without the body and mind, and vice versa. This is not an alternative practice; it has been taught in dental education for decades. Dentist, like many other medical practitioners can choose to continue to pursue education in many focused areas of dentistry, some of these are considered ‘specialties’. Pediatric dentistry, Orthodontic dentistry, Oral Surgery, Endodontics, and Restorative dentistry are some of these with specific training education programs throughout dental education. Dental Sleep Medicine is not a recognized specialty. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has created educational and clinical requirements for practitioners to prepare themselves for accreditation in this professional organization. It requires a significant amount of training, a board exam and continued education to maintain your status as a practitioner.

My practice of dentistry, airway and dental sleep medicine is defined by evidence-based research, continuing education and training, and experience in my practice. This is how I base my clinical decision making and treatment recommendations. This is not alternative dentistry.  I have many colleagues who are devoted to these same principles. I have watched them, learned from them, and practiced alongside them throughout my career.

However, new and innovative treatments based in scientific research are available to our profession. Developing healthy teeth and jaws has long term benefits for overall health. More recently, the connection between jaw and facial development and a healthy upper airway is now a focus for dental practitioners. The development of a healthy upper airway in childhood can lead to long term success in the elimination of mouth breathing, teeth grinding, and pediatric sleep apnea. Our practice has chosen to include this in our assessment of your child’s dental health and inform our families of risks that may be associated with sleep disordered breathing, upper airway resistance syndrome, and sleep apnea. We work with an inter-professional group of pediatricians, myofunctional therapist, otolaryngologist, and sleep medicine specialist to create a comprehensive care plan to assist in the healthy development of your children.

This is not alternative dentistry; it is a comprehensive approach to oral health and what we strive to accomplishing our practice. We hope to educate and inform our patients on airway health and how this affects a healthy mouth!