What is Airway Dentistry?

Image of many people yawning

You may have heard the term airway dentistry and not know what it means or why it’s being talked about. It is a relatively new topic that focuses on the structure, function and behaviors of the oral cavity (the bite and palate specifically). These areas are related to breathing, speaking, swallowing, and chewing.

Airway dentistry seeks to improve overall health by addressing the oral issues that impact breathing. Natural breathing relies on stable oral health, functional jaw joints, and unrestricted air flow. These mechanics working together are what prevent sleep disordered breathing disorders.

Why is airway dentistry important?

Chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing all share the same structures; they all have to work together. If there is dysfunction between these things they create a wide range of symptoms: fatigue, headaches, TMJ disorders, tinnitus, sleep-related breathing disorders, an inability to concentrate, and more.

Chronic Issues Caused by Sleep Disordered Breathing:

  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Snoring
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Crooked Teeth
  • Chronic Allergies
  • Teeth Grinding
  • TMJD
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes

Assessment for Breathing Related Issues

A range of technologies are used to assess and choose a course of treatment including Cone-beam CT (CBCT) scans to assess the airway, temporomandibular joint and nasal cavity. As well as physical assessments typically done in general dentistry and tests like a sleep study. At Santa Teresa Smiles we practice comprehensive, integrative dentistry and look for signs and symptoms of airway, tongue and palate issues. Then we work with the patient to develop a plan to treat the patient’s unique needs. We seek to address airway structure problems using oral appliances, orthodontics, oral and myofunctional therapy, and other minimally invasive dental treatments. Dr. Oushy is a Verified Airway Dentist by Airway Health Solutions.

Do you have sleep apnea already? Are you concerned your child might have airway issues? Please reach out to us for an appointment, we would love to help you breathe easier.