He may not be a rock star, but he’s something of an international celebrity.
Salmon Arm’s Dr. Brian Broadwell has been invited to give the keynote speech at an international conference in Zadar, Croatia later this month. He will be the only speaker from Canada.
His topic: orthodontics and airways.
While perhaps not knock-your-socks-off exciting for the average person, his research and knowledge has implications for many – particularly young people.
“There’s a lot of recent evidence starting to mount, that the direction of tooth movement can have an effect on how well someone can breathe. I’ve been noticing it for sure, and most of my research was centred around the actual position of the lower jaw… More recently I’ve seen how the position of teeth in the jaw can affect the airway.”
Broadwell is board-certified in both Canada and the U.S. in orthodontics and prosthodontics – the only professional he’s aware of with that dual board certification.
Orthodontics focuses on moving teeth, while prosthodontics is about more advanced full-mouth rehabilitation, “implants and things like that,” Broadwell explains.
“If I have a soap box, it’s the airway one. Any kid that snores needs to be checked out. It’s not a cute noise that kids make – it’s not healthy to snore if you’re a kid.”
He said snoring is not normal at any age, but it’s especially bad in a growing child as it can affect the way they develop; it can affect cognitive function – perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering.
“We’re finding a lot of ones diagnosed with ADHD actually having breathing and sleeping problems,” he says.
Broadwell attributes his professional recognition to his unique qualifications.
“I guess people would probably consider me unique because of my dual training. I tend to take a different perspective to problems than most dentists would.”
He notes that an orthodontist with prosthodontics training looks at joint position and joint health rather than just aligning teeth.
Broadwell grew up in Louisiana in a family of physicians – both his dad and brother are rheumatologists, working on bone and joint diseases. Although he envisioned following in his father’s footsteps, he found that his love of working with his hands and the autonomy of a dental practice appealed to him.
He and his wife fell in love with the Shuswap after friends and colleagues from Kelowna invited them here. They moved to Canada about two years ago with their two young children and purchased the practice of Dr. Charles Smith, who still works there one or two days per month.
Regarding the invitation to Croatia, Broadwell says he has been asked to speak at several meetings in the past in the U.S.
“As soon as you get started and people like what you have to say and your speaking style, you get invited to more meetings. It’s pretty much from exposure.”
Broadwell says he’ll be relying on humour to help keep his keynote speech interesting.”
“In Croatia, for instance, you have to learn more about the culture and find ways to make light humour, contrast differences between Croatian culture to Canadian culture. There’s all kinds of material – cultural norms or climate. You need to make them laugh every five or 10 minutes or it’s not going to go well.”
And along with humour, there’ll be enthusiasm.
“Although making people’s teeth straight is really fun, making them breathe better is even better.”