Airway centric cosmetic dentistry is taking a more global view of the smile makeover process. Instead of looking at teeth only, we must look at the whole picture of the patient to determine the correct course of treatment.
Shifting to Airway Centric Cosmetic Dentistry
The process of incorporating an awareness of the airway into treatment is like a checklist. Before I embark on rebuilding a smile, I want to make sure this patient is breathing well. If they are, terrific, I proceed normally. But if the patient says they struggle with sleep, then it may take some more investigation on my part to determine if dentistry may be able to help.
For instance, let’s say this patient has extreme sleep apnea. They present with constricted arches and worn teeth but just want a new smile. Is it my job to tell them about the link between their sleep apnea and the dental problems they present with?
They may be unaware that there is a link between their teeth and their airway. Could my insight help them with their airway? Could dental expansion help? Could orthognathic surgery help? Maybe they are content with wearing a CPAP, but maybe not and would appreciate my insight and direction.
Airway centric cosmetic dentistry is a little bit of a paradigm shift in how we look at our patients. But if there is one profession that can do it, dentistry is the one that will take the lead. Dentistry’s success is built on its preventative philosophy. Proactive care of our patients has been our core mission so that they can keep their teeth for a lifetime.
Now it will take a whole new set of skills to help our patients breathe better. I am excited for where cosmetic dentistry is going because it can be truly life changing!