Peppermint Sage Dental Wellness - Drs. Michelle Corcoran & Frances Thompson
The Effects of Inadequate Airway
Michelle Corcoran, DDS
Airway dentistry is a new avenue in general dentistry that focuses on the patient’s airway to determine if there is physiological restriction due to the shape or position of the mouth, jaw, mandible, and through the esophagus which may lead to both short-term and long-term health issues.
Ideally patients will naturally and easily breathe through their nose and not their mouth. What begins as “mouth breathing” in young children can lead to snoring, sleep apnea or Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome later in life.
Each of these can cause excessive daytime fatigue, headaches, depression, poor sleep, decreased sports or exercise performance, and more severe health concerns such as increased risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
Airway Certified Dentists screen for inadequate airway by checking for tooth wear, broken teeth, the position of the tongue at rest and when swallowing, and the width and size of the patient’s mouth. Additionally, a 3D CBCT X-Ray machine allows for an in office complete scan of not only the mouth and teeth, but the entire airway and jaw structure, and provides 3D imagery, making it easy for the patient to see and understand the underlying issue.
Once an issue has been identified, an Airway Certified Dentist is able to offer permanent, non-surgical solutions which act to reduce mouth breathing and promote nasal breathing in children and adults, such as HealthyStart® Removable Appliances, Removable Orthopedic Expansion Devices, and Mandibular Advancement Devices. Each of these devices help to transition patients from restricted breathing to less obstructive nasal breathing.