MADISON, NJ - Dr. Allison Adams, Dr. Celine Lee and Dr. Mark McCaffery, general dentists in Madison, attended a conference on Airway Orthodontics. The conference featured Dr. Barry Raphael, Dr. Mark Cruz, Dr. Rick Roblee and Roger Price, and focused on airway health and its impact on systemic health and well-being.
“Airway health” is complex and involves insuring that a person can breathe easily and properly while both awake and asleep. The ever-increasing incidence of obstructive sleep apnea has resulted in research that recognizes there are multiple risk factors that increase a person’s risk for apnea. More importantly, research is showing how dentists are at the forefront of preventing apnea by intervening with orthodontic care, retraining breathing patterns and teaching exercises that change the action and tone of muscles involved with swallowing and breathing.
Years of research reveal that the size and the shape of the human head is getting smaller which leads to smaller jaws and airway spaces. The anatomic change creates less room for the tongue which results in a greater risk of the tongue obstructing the airway, with the possible consequence of sleep apnea.
Drs. Adams, Lee and McCaffery are specially trained to identify the signs of airway compromise in their patients and are able to intervene with preventative techniques for children. For patients who already suffer from apnea or other sleep disorders, there is still hope and they are able to improve the quality of sleep for many patients.
Dr. Adams states, “our goal is to evaluate growth and development in children and intervene with preventative strategies as soon as a problem is identified so we can change the health trajectory for patients”. She reports that children with a history of ear or sinus infections, snoring, grinding teeth at night and ADHD, should be evaluated for an airway disorder. Additionally, Dr. McCaffery reports that adults with reflux, snoring, frequent broken teeth, morning headaches and a history of wearing a nightguard may have a sleep disorder and should be screened for airway compromise. Airway problems are often not identified as the underlying cause for chronic diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and anxiety.
If you suspect you or a family member suffer from a breathing or airway issue, or a chronic inflammatory disease, the recommendation is that you be screened by a dentist who is trained to identify airway compromise.