Airway Dentistry: Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Airway dentistry is a new and upcoming branch of dentistry concerned with the impact of the oral structures to normal breathing patterns. The mechanics of natural breathing rely on an open airway that is supported by stable oral health, functional jaw movements and unrestricted airflow through our nasal passages. When any component of this natural process is compromised in some way, it can lead to health effects that are often chronic. There are several dental indications to suggest that a person may be dealing with airway problems.
The more common indications are

  • Presence of a smaller jaw bone
  • Skeletal structures of the mouth – under developed facial growth
  • Constant allergies in kids
  • Large tongue
  • Adenoid face
  • What may begin as mouth breathing, during the day or night, when we are young can lead to sleep related breathing disorders in adulthood. Airway dentistry seeks to address the airway structure problems using oral appliances, orthodontics and other minimally invasive dental treatments.

    Sleep Related Breathing Disorders

    Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious condition which causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. There are several types of sleep apnea, of which the most common one is Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This happens when something partly or completely blocks your upper airway during sleep. That makes your diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp, snort, or body jerk. You may not sleep well, but you probably won't be aware that this is happening.

    The condition can also reduce the flow of essential oxygen to vital organs and cause medical problems like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, stroke, diabetes, depression, daytime tiredness and fatigue, irritability. Sleep apnea in children can also cause inability to concentrate, attention deficit disorders, grinding of teeth, bed wetting, and restlessness during sleep etc.

    Snoring is an important sign of Sleep Apnea. Your dentists at American Smiles will have you fill out a sleep questionnaire and also examine you signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. After proper examination and diagnosis, along with our medical team, Dr.Nivedita will recommend a dental appliance which is worn in the mouth during sleep. It fits like a retainer and helps open up your airway to allow for a relaxed breathing throughout the night.


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