What is Airway-Focused Orthodontics?
Did you know that some major sleep conditions, like sleep apnea, can be diagnosed and treated by a dentist who’s trained in airway-focused dentistry? While airway issues may not seem urgent, studies show that when the body struggles for adequate oxygen over an extended period of time, it can lead to an increased risk for numerous health problems.
Instances of complete or partial upper airway obstruction during sleep, known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, are shown to occur in more than 18 million American adults. Breathing obstructions during sleep can force the body to compensate for lower oxygen levels. Airway-focused dentistry at Rachel Barnhart DDS is centered around sustaining optimal airway health and includes a multi-faceted treatment approach.
How Does Airway-Focused Orthodontics Work?
Some of the first signs of airway issues show up in the mouth, including symptoms of breathing problems and teeth grinding. This can indicate or lead to larger sleep disorders including OSA and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), which is a milder form of sleep apnea.
Airway-focused orthodontics can help diagnose and address breathing and sleep issues during a routine visit to our office.
Airway-Focused Treatment at Rachel Barnhart DDS
At Rachel Barnhart DDS, we understand how critical it is to identify airway dysfunction early, and we use a multi-disciplinary approach that is completely customized to your individual needs. Some of the treatment approaches we take to improve airway function are:
- Airway-focused orthodontics. Different from standard orthodontic treatments, airway-focused orthodontics focuses on treating some airway conditions through correcting oral and head posture.
- Palate expansion. In some cases of airway issues, symptoms can be improved through the use of palate-expanding devices that attach to the roof of the mouth and secure to the back teeth.
- Myofunctional therapy. The purpose of myofunctional therapy is to pull the tongue up and away from the back of the throat. This improves overall airway health and reduces the symptoms of breathing and sleep conditions.
- Oral appliances. Customized oral appliances can help position the tongue and open up the airway.
- Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) surgery. In some cases where patients require a multi-treatment approach, Dr. Barnhart may refer to an oral surgeon for MMA surgery to correct orofacial issues.
At Rachel Barnhart DDS, we proudly serve the Redding area as a full-service airway-focused dentistry practice that uses the most advanced techniques combined with individualized care to achieve optimal results.
Don’t Leave Breathing or Sleep Issues Untreated – Call Dr. Barnhart Today!
The road to breathing and sleeping better is just an appointment away. Contact us or schedule an appointment online today to get started!