There is a revolution happening in dentistry and medicine right now and it has to do with the airway – how we breathe. It’s our body’s most vital function.
If you can’t breathe, you die. If you struggle to breathe, you are at risk for many health problems. Sleep studies, CBCT airway analysis, pulse oximeter data, fitness smart watches, apps and video evidence show that airway issues are prevalent with many of our patients.
Utilizing Airway Centric Cosmetic Dentistry in Your Practice
There has been a convergence of a lot of data pointing to a problem that medicine and dentistry is just beginning to understand. In all my 26 years of practice, I have never been more aware of this important topic. What I have learned is that for many of us, how we learned to practice dentistry doesn’t take into consideration sleep issues and the airway.
We often overlook signs of airway distress in our patients and just do our day-to-day dentistry. It is a new set of skills for us to wrap our heads around. It is also very complex. Creating systems in our practice to ask our patients questions about their airways and sleep is a great start.
Our dental examination should also include an evaluation of how our patients breathe: Do they breathe through their nose the way we were built to breathe? Or are they forced to be a mouth breather? Do they have tongue thrust issues? Or, better yet, what is their resting tongue posture? Is it at the roof of the mouth where it should be, creating beautiful wide dental arches, or is it low, creating the opposite, narrow arches.
How do they sleep? Do they snore? Do they feel rested in the morning? Do they dream? What is the quality of their sleep? Is there a sleep study history? How about a CBCT with an airway analysis? I believe that in the future, a modern low dose CBCT with an airway analysis will be the standard of care for our dental patients, just like an FMX.
Once you see this kind of data, you can’t go back to just wondering about your patient’s airway. Just check out Anatomage’s software images of airways. It will blow you away. Are you curious about your own airway?
Keep your eye out for Part 2, coming soon!