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What is Airway Dentistry?

Airway dentistry and sleep apnea probably aren’t what you think of immediately when you think of a dentist. However, airway dentistry is becoming an important part of many dental practices. What is airway dentistry, and how can it help you? D.C. Precision Dentistry, your go-to general dentist in Washington, D.C., can walk you through the process and practice of airway dentistry.

sleep apnea treatments in Washington DC

What is the Field of Airway Dentistry?

Airway dentistry is a new and growing field that’s focused on the structure of the mouth and how that impacts your breathing. They look for sleep-disordered breathing by looking for signs of mouth breathing when you’re sleeping. Things like tooth wear, the position of your tongue, and the condition of the soft tissue in your mouth can speak to airway dentists. The goal is to prevent sleep apnea, as that leads to bigger issues down the road. If you already have sleep apnea, it’s time to stop it.

Do I Have Signs of Sleep-Disordered Breathing or Sleep Apnea?

Signs and symptoms of these conditions can be obvious to you once they’re pointed out. They include:

  • Feeling tired even after getting eight hours of sleep
  • Grogginess during the day
  • Headaches upon waking up
  • Being unable to focus
  • Snoring
  • Waking up in the night while gasping for air

If you notice that you’re having these symptoms in your day to day life, it’s time to talk to someone about airway dentistry. If your partner tells you you’ve been snoring loudly and waking them up during the night, that’s a red flag as well.

What Can I Expect from Airway Dentistry?

Even if you don’t go to the dentist specifically because of airway dentistry, symptoms may be noticed during a general dentistry exam. At D.C. Precision Dentistry, we strive to practice comprehensive dentistry. Our dentist will look for the oral signs of sleep-disordered breathing at every dental exam you have, just to keep on top of things.

If you bring up symptoms or our staff finds them, we’ll test the patterns of your breathing. Usually, sleep-disordered breathing is caused by the relaxation of the muscles in the throat. With sleep apnea, breathing is completely stopped by these muscles. However, there are conditions like Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) that don’t stop breathing but do mess with normal breathing patterns.

Both conditions affect Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is one of the most important parts of the sleep cycle. REM sleep is used for your brain to rejuvenate itself from the day. If this is disrupted nightly, it can lead to serious issues with your alertness during the day.

Airway Dentistry in Washington D.C.

D.C. Precision Dentistry offers a personalized approach to airway dentistry. Usually, an oral device that people wear while sleeping can fix the problem by adjusting the mouth so the airway stays open. However, there are more advanced therapies and treatments if this doesn’t work for you. We’re dedicated to making sure we can get you the solution you need. Call us today or request an appointment online to get started!