Airway Screenings and Airway Dentistry

Proper breathing is critical to a person's general and dental health.  Oxygen flowing freely through your lungs and respiratory tract is an important aspect of your overall wellbeing.  Having narrow or blocked airway passages can lead to many health and dental complications.  Our goal at Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry is to maintain and improve our patients dental and general health.  As such, we will complete airways screens and offer treatment options to our patients.

Many airway complications are first recognized in a dental office during your dental exam and checkup.  We will check your nose, septum, size of your mouth and arch, soft palate, uvula, tongue, tonsils and other anatomy for signs of potential airway and sleep problems.  Elongated soft palates or uvulas can block the airway when you are sleeping.  

Airway and Your Child

Screening children for signs of airway blockage and improper breathing is an important part of our pediatric dental exams and cleanings.  Untreated and undiagnosed airways problems can lead to changes in how the mouth and face grow, behavior and concentration difficulties, along with problems with sleep.  At Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we want your child to thrive and grow in the healthiest way possible.

Some signs your child may have Sleep Disordered Breathing and a Restricted Airway include:

  • Trouble falling asleep or going to sleep
  • Frequent waking during the night
  • Dry mouth or bad breath
  • Breathing through mouth during the day or night
  • Grinding their teeth or snoring
  • Wetting the bed at night beyond typical
  • Child that is difficult to wake in the morning
  • Child who if always tired, groggy or out of it
  • Hyperactivity, ADHD, difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Frequent illness, sore throat, ear infections, sinus infections or allergies
  • Oral habits such as thumb sucking, lip biting, excessive pacifier use

If you notice any of the above signs in your child, let your dentist and hygienist know so we can complete a full screening on your child.

Signs of a Restricted Airway in Adults

Some signs of a restricted airway and sleep disordered breathing may include:

  • Grinding your teeth
  • Snoring
  • Mouth breathing
  • Tooth decay / Cavities
  • Crowded teeth / Small Mouth
  • Tooth Wear
  • Nasal Problems
  • Feeling Tired / Falling asleep during the day
  • Hyperactive Gag Reflex

Complications of a Restricted Airway

If left untreated, a restricted airway and sleep disordered breathing can lead to health issues such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Cardiovascular problems such as High Blood Pressure or Stroke
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues such as Acid Reflux
  • Weight gain / Obesity

How we Can Help

For patients whom we suspect airway narrowing, blockages or sleep disordered breathing, we can offer a take home sleep test.  This device is worn on your wrist and finger while you sleep and is done from the comfort of your own home and your own bed. This device allows us to screen you for sleep problems such as Sleep Apnea and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome.  Once the results of your test are analyzed by the dentist at Bowers and Oki Family Dentistry, we can discuss treatment options and refer you to the appropriate physician when needed.