top of page

What's Air Got to Do With It?

Sunday, April 16

9 AM - Noon

3 CDE Credits – DDS, DH, DA

About the Course

Dentistry has become more aware of breathing issues and how they relate to the hard and soft tissue damage we see in the office every day. An overview of breathing mechanics and how it relates to the patients in our dental chair will be shared, as well as breathing techniques and screening questions. Many times, myofunctional therapy also enhances the airway and numerous studies have shown its efficacy in assisting sleep apnea patients. A discussion of how tethered oral tissues can affect the airway along with a walk through of an objective chairside exam will be given. Be able to take your knowledge back to the office Monday morning and implement it in your exams.

This session will enable participants to:
- Understand how the vagal system impacts the airway
- Screen for airway disfunction in their patient exams
- Recognize intra and extraoral signs of tethered oral tissues (TOTs) and the effects they have on the airway
- Screen for tethered oral tissues
- Implement some easy airway exercises


Kathleen Elder, R.D.H., C.O.M.
Patricia Brinkman-Falter, B.S.D.H., R.D.H., M.S., P.H.R.D.H., C.O.M.

Kathleen M. Elder, RDH, ECP II, COM®, opened “Digits & Spots” in 2003 to bring orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) services to children, adults and their families in the greater Kansas City area. She is the only IAOM certified orofacial myologist (COM®) in the state of Kansas. She works closely with numerous medical and dental specialists in meeting the needs of her patients. Elder worked as a licensed Missouri and Kansas registered dental hygienist in differing practice settings, including: periodontal, general and orthodontic practices. It was while working in orthodontics that she was introduced to OMT. She has over 35 years of professional experience in dental health care. Elder previously served on the Membership Committee of the IAOM. She is a member of the American Dental Hygienist’s Association (ADHA), the KS Dental Hygienist’s Association (KDHA), and presently serves as Vice President of the Eastern KS Dental Hygienist’s Association (EKDHA). She is a member of the International Affiliation of Tongue-tie Professionals (IATP). In addition, she represents Oral Health KS as the dental hygiene representative to the KS University Medical Center Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic. Elder presents and lectures on OM Disorders and Myofunctional Therapy to dental hygiene students, state and local dental hygiene organizations, and specialty practices. She recently participated in a Round Table Discussion on “Alternative Practice Settings for Dental Hygienists” at the 2017 Annual Session of the KDHA.

Conflict of Interest: None reported

Patricia Brinkman-Falter has been a practicing dental hygienist “longer than she's been on the planet” and has found her passion in orofacial myology. She loves the energy and positive relationships she's formed with her own patients. She fought alone to have the Nebraska board of dentistry declare Myofunctional therapy part of the practice of dental hygiene. After 18 sleepless months of having her ROH license in jeopardy and thousands of dollars later, she won. Brinkman-Falter also won ADHA's 2015 Irene Newman award for her efforts. In April 2020 her article, Myofunctional Therapy: Enhancing your Dental Hygiene Career, was the first article on myofunctional therapy ever published in Access magazine by ADHA. The same year, she successfully led a talented group of hygienists to update ADHA's policies on myofunctional therapy, the first update since 1992. She was subsequently awarded the Rose Van Norman Award for Prevention by the International Association of Orofacial Myology. Brinkman-Falter speaks on a variety of topics across the country. As the soft tissue expert in the dental practice, she's always looking for ways to help educate the dental team. Her own specialty practice, Nebraska Myofunctional Specialties, includes tongue ties, airway, craniofacial development, TMJD and tongue thrust, all of which directly affect occlusion, periodontal disease and caries experience. She raised her children on a farm in south central Nebraska and currently resides with her husband in Lincoln, where they enjoy their eight beautiful grandchildren.

Conflict of Interest: None reported

Kathleen Elder, R.D.H., C.O.M. 
Patricia Brinkman-Falter, B.S.D.H., R.D.H., M.S., P.H.R.D.H., C.O.M.
bottom of page