I had no idea at the time, but the DSO I worked for actually launched my airway-focused dental practice...

Jim Bieneman DDS

When I was in dental school, I was taught nothing about how airway health contributes to overall health. Nothing about sleep or sleep apnea. Nothing about the tongue except that it was an obstruction to get to the teeth and that my life would be a lot easier if I could cut it out.
My first job out of dental school was with a DSO. They put an emphasis on continuing education. In the three years I worked for them, I took about 200 hours of CE courses. If they offered it, I said yes. So when an orthodontics course came up, I gave them my usual response: “Sure. Sign me up.” That first ortho course was a game changer for me. It talked about expansion and sleep quality for kids. I was instantly hooked that there could be a way of dentistry that would provide more optimal health for my patients.


Dr. Jim Bieneman

At the time my practice was a very traditional family dental practice. My schedule during the week was packed with crowns, fillings and general family dentistry. But after that first orthodontics course, on the weekends, I would venture off to another city to learn more about tongue ties, TMD, ortho & the airway. If there ever was a stereotypical CE junkie, it was me.
The pieces of the tongue/dental/ortho/airway puzzle all came together for me when I took a course on Orthotropics®. Orthotropics® is a facial growth guidance technique that develops the jaws up and out in the face. A successful result includes a wide smile that is complete to the corners of the mouth, a strong profile, an esthetically balanced face AND a large healthy airway.
I was on fire from what I was learning about the airway so I started talking about it to my family dental patients. Based on the problems I was seeing in my patients, my enthusiasm for airway focused treatments was justified. But, it alienated a lot of people. It was too far out of the norm for them. They didn’t want to hear it. However, I wasn’t about to give up.
Fast forward five years to now, and as awareness about tethered oral tissue and airway health has spread, the tongue tie/TMD/ortho side of my practice has exploded. Every day, people contact my office looking for solutions to TMJ problems, alternatives to traditional orthodontics and answers to airway related questions.
Sometimes I joke with my patients. I put three fingers in front of their teeth, covering their mouth. Then, I say: “Your teeth don’t matter to me right now. Let’s talk about everything else but those teeth.” The looks on their faces when I do that are priceless. I’m a dentist; of course I care about their teeth! But my patients’ health and wellness comes first. In that regard I’m no different from any healthcare professional. We all want the best for our patients.
Information about the airway is popping up all over the internet. It seems like there’s a new course every day talking about airway and TMD issues. Public awareness about tongue ties/TMD issues and airway focused orthodontics has shot through the roof. The problem is that there aren’t enough providers with practical airway experience to collaborate with when it comes to identifying, diagnosing, treating and referring airway-related cases.

Why He Started the Airway Study Club

It’s taken me countless CE hours and 10+ years of clinical experience to become a confident airway focused provider. I created the Airway Study Club to help other providers cut through the clutter and shorten their learning curve.
My goal with The Airway Study Club is to create a collaborative environment for all of us to discover new and better ways to help improve our patient outcomes.

Please Join Our Mailing List for Regular Updates About Study Club Events

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact