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Airway-Centric Dentistry: The Connection between Dental Health and Better Breathing

As a dedicated dentist, I am committed to not only providing exceptional dental care but also improving your overall health and well-being. That’s why I’m excited to share with you a revolutionary approach called airway-centric dentistry, which can transform your life in ways you may have never imagined.

What Exactly is Airway-Centric Dentistry?

An airway-centric dental practice not only focuses on the health of a patient’s teeth and gums but also prioritizes their airway health. This holistic approach to dentistry understands that dental health can be intricately connected to the health of the respiratory system, particularly with conditions like sleep apnea, chronic mouth breathing, and other sleep-related disorders.

By understanding the intricate relationship between your dental health and your airway, we can address not only dental issues but also potential concerns related to sleep apnea, snoring, blood pressure, headaches, and migraines.

What is the Goal of Airway-Centric Dentistry?

The goal of airway-centric dentistry is to improve overall health by ensuring that the oral and facial structures support a healthy, unobstructed airway.

This involves not just the management of dental issues like cavities and gum disease but also the identification and treatment of issues like malocclusions or misaligned teeth, tongue-ties, or anatomical issues that might contribute to airway obstruction.

Treatment could involve orthodontics, oral surgery, sleep appliances, or coordination with other healthcare providers, such as ear, nose, and throat specialists or sleep medicine professionals.

Who Would Benefit from Airway-Centric Dentistry?

Airway-centric dentistry can benefit a wide range of individuals, from children to adults, who are experiencing oral or health issues linked to airway obstruction. Below are a few specific groups that might see significant benefits:

Individuals with Sleep Disorders:
Those suffering from sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, snoring, or insomnia often have obstructions or anomalies in their airways. Airway-centric dentistry can diagnose and treat these issues, improving both sleep quality and overall health.

Children with Developmental Issues:
Children who have issues like malocclusion (misaligned teeth), high palatal vault, tongue-tie, or thumb-sucking habits could benefit from this approach. These conditions can hinder the proper development of the oral and facial structures, leading to possible airway obstruction. Early intervention through airway-centric dentistry can mitigate these issues, promoting healthy growth and development.

People with Chronic Mouth Breathing:
Chronic mouth breathing is often an indication of obstructed airways. Left unaddressed, it can lead to various health problems, including sleep disorders, gum disease, dental cavities, and even facial development issues in children. Airway-centric dentistry can help identify the underlying causes and provide suitable treatments.

Patients with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD):
TMD is a condition that affects the jaw joint and muscles, causing pain and discomfort. Some individuals with TMD may also have airway issues due to the structural relationship between the jaw and the throat. In such cases, an airway-centric approach can help manage these interconnected issues.

Individuals with Chronic Fatigue or Difficulty Concentrating:
Chronic fatigue, morning headaches, or difficulty concentrating can sometimes be linked to poor sleep quality resulting from obstructed airways. By addressing the airway issues, these symptoms can be significantly reduced or eliminated.

Individuals with Chronic Sinusitis or Allergies:
Recurrent sinusitis or allergies can sometimes be related to issues with airway obstruction or mouth breathing. An airway-centric dental approach can help manage these conditions by improving airway function and breathing habits.

What Treatment Options are Offered?

We have many new tools that help us stop dental problems in kids before they start and offer treatments for adults that work well too. Especially exciting for patients is a non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical, and non-invasive treatment.

One option is a customized oral appliance that a patient wears in their mouth during the evening and at night. These appliances are designed to guide the body to develop the patient’s airway and breathing passages to their fullest potential.

Results from patients who used a customized oral appliance to undergo arch development as an adult:

  • 28% had their OSA resolved.
  • 63% improved by one AHI classification (i.e., severe to moderate, moderate to mild, or mild to no OSA).
  • 86% improved their airway size.
  • 97% increased the width of their palate, which allows the tongue to rest in proper position, thus avoiding a potential airway obstruction.
  • In a study of patient satisfaction with arch development, 97% achieved their desired outcome, and 98% were highly or very satisfied and were likely to recommend the treatment to a friend.

Conclusion

In conclusion, airway-centric dentistry, particularly with the innovative use of customized oral appliances, promises a revolutionary way to approach dental health and overall wellness. 

By expanding the focus beyond the teeth and gums, and addressing the fundamental issues affecting the airway, this approach has the potential to improve sleep, reduce chronic health problems, and enhance the quality of life for patients.

The commitment to transforming lives through this treatment method underscores the ever-evolving nature of dentistry. It’s about so much more than bright smiles and healthy teeth—it’s about enabling people to live their best, healthiest lives. 

We Can Help

Do you or a loved one experience sleep apnea, chronic mouth breathing, and other sleep-related disorders? If so, don’t hesitate to take the first step and schedule a consultation. 

As a dentist specializing in airway-centric dentistry, Dr. Safavi can examine your oral cavity and airway to determine the cause of your disorder and recommend appropriate treatment.

Here at Aligned Healing we will create a customized comprehensive treatment plan for you that uses a noninvasive, cost-effective oral appliance to correct the issue.

One of the methods we use is a revolutionary treatment for mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. It does not require surgery, it is non-invasive, highly effective, and has a limited treatment time. 

To learn how we can help you, please call (303) 226-6265 to schedule an appointment.

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