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Airway

Airway

The ability to breathe and sleep well are both critically import aspects of our health. Quality sleep and its relationship to respiratory stress is just as important to overall health as good nutrition and exercise. Over the past four decades, a wide body of research in medicine has acknowledged obstructed airways and respiratory stress as a major cause of cardiovascular disease, fatigue, early dementia, and many other significant systemic diseases that effect overall health and quality of life. Sleep medicine has been managed with CPAP style devices for years and continues to be the gold standard for moderate to severe airway issues. For the past 15-20 years, dental devices have been used as an alternative to CPAP, serving patients with more mild to moderate cases of apnea and that can not tolerate the CPAP style devices.

Today dentistry’s understanding and ability to serve airway patients is more sophisticated. The ability to look deeply into a variety of dental causes and acknowledge airway issues has allowed dentists to prescribe therapy that both improves health and quality of life, but also can lead toward more healthy teeth. Generally, when there is an airway issue that a dentist can treat, there exists an underlying dental problem. These problems can range from poor orthodontic and jaw development to tongue position. Patients with airway sleep disorders, especially mild too moderate ones, do not always easily point their finger to sleep as a cause for their problems. Lack of quality sleep can have a variety of dental and overall health symptoms among these are:

- Periodontal Disease
- Heavy dental wear, clenching, and grinding
- Gastric Reflux
- Inflammation Disorders
- Fatigue and Tiredness
- TMJ Disorders
- Facial Pain
- Fibromyalgia
- Muscular Pain
- Frequent Heads
- Postural Changes
- Snoring
- Interupted Breathing
- Cardiovascular Stress

The dental therapy most commonly used for Airway Sleep Disorders like Apnea and Upper Respiratory Stress Disorder is a Mandibular Advancement Device. These dental appliance fit over the teeth and advance the lower jaw to open the airway. While this treatment is effective and is commonly prescribed for treatment, it is not the only option. Our practices approach to airway is one that leads to natural resolution strategies. We use a variety of treatment approaches, some of which are simple dentistry to aid patients in regaining an open airway and good nights sleep. Some of the resolution therapy we use are:

- Dental devices
- Encouraging healthy nasal breathing
- Tongue posture therapy and Frenuloplasty
- Orthodontics, Orthognathics, and Dental Restoration

Many times the solution to an airway issue is simply a developmental issue in the mouth. This is exciting on many levels. For one, we better understand how to treat children toward better growth and development of the jaw. This knowledge effects orthodontic decisions that can prevent malocclusions that can be damaging to dental health and the airway as adults. For adults, we can give immediate improvements to airway with appliances, but it is also exciting to use these devices as a test for treatment positions with the hope we might be able to restore dental issues that are causing the problems. Nearly every orthodontic patient has a reason for the poor position of their teeth. If the forces that move teeth were not present, patients would not need retainers after their teeth were put into position with braces. The tongue, cheeks, jaw posture, bite positions, and habits or clinching and grinding go hand in hand with airway and dental health. With the understanding of airway, dentistry is more correctly designed to function in better harmony with the body and ultimately last longer and feel more natural. In. Return this properly design dentistry supports better breathing and better sleep.