Oxygen is life. When your body is not receiving sufficient oxygen, your body enters a perpetual state of “fight or flight” and reacts by putting pressures on other body systems, that can directly affect your entire body. Approximately 2 million people are diagnosed annually with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and it is estimated that 40% of the adult population in the US suffers from sleep disorders.
An alarming 75% of severe sleep disorders go undiagnosed!
Dr. Alexander is dedicated to the oral health and overall physical well-being of our patients. She practices Airway-Centered Dentistry in Corinth TX to address a wide range of concerns that impact the oral health and everyday quality of life of patients of all ages. Dr. Alexander is among the small percentage of dentists completing specialized training to treat airway disorders with oral devices. She is an AMD trained integrated dental practitioner completing intensive certification courses to treat children and adults with biomimetic appliances and guides and healthy living nutrition and breathing and posture.
The science of Airway Dentistry continues to develop, focusing on how we breathe and what factors are leading to common sleep problems. The mechanics of natural breathing rely on an open airway that is supported by stable oral health, functional jaw joints, and unrestricted airflow through our nasal passages. When a component of this natural process is compromised in some way, it can lead to health effects that are often chronic. As a dentist, Dr. Alexander uses the airway-centered approach to your care in our office to identify the underlying structural cause of a sleep issue and resolve symptoms. Airway dentistry focuses on addressing common and complex concerns related to the structure of the bite and palate, which affects how you breathe. The science of Airway Dentistry has shown that many adult sleep issues are related to undiagnosed oral development concerns. Malocclusion, jaw structure abnormalities, and tooth alignment can affect our growth and our ability to breathe deeply and comfortably in our sleep. What may begin as mouth breathing when we are young can lead to sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS).
Treating the effects of sleep issues as early as possible is important for healthy growth and development in children. In adults with sleep problems, treatment is designed to resolve symptoms, restore improved oral health, and overall physical wellbeing.
What can Airway Dentistry Treat?
Dr. Alexander uses the airway-centered approach to treat a growing list of oral and overall health concerns that can be tied to sleep issues.
In adults, oral appliances can be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome as an alternative to CPAP.
In young children, sleep disturbance caused by an airway issue can lead to behavioral problems, bedwetting, and chronic allergies. Airway dentistry could minimize the need for a pharmaceutical approach to a behavioral problem such as ADHD.
Dr Alexander works with adult and pediatric patients to evaluate their breathing and the structure of the jaw and palate. Using a range of therapies or treatments to restore better breathing and sleep is the key to addressing problems with lasting results.
Airway dentistry seeks to address the airway structure problems using oral appliances, orthodontics and other minimally invasive dental treatments.
What is Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome?
UARS is similar to sleep apnea, but studies are still ongoing to determine if there is any relationship between them. Patients with UARS syndrome can experience symptoms such as fatigue and interrupted sleep. UARS causes the airway to be partially blocked by a collapse of soft tissue at the back of the mouth and the flow of air may be minimized enough to cause arousal when sleeping. There are often specific structural characteristics in patients with UARS including a narrow palate at the back and overjet in the bite. An Airway-centered Mouth Doctor™(AMD) has the knowledge and training beyond drill-filling-medicating-operating to help:
- A. Connect mind-body total health with mind-body-mouth- airway-sleep
- B. Redevelop deficient jaws and airway for better sleep
- C. An AMD can free your body from the tyranny of poor sleep from weak jaws, bad bite, and more, without relying on pills or surgery
Do you suffer from any of the following signs or symptoms?:
- Do you suffer from clenching, grinding, or gritting your teeth?
- Do you have crowded teeth or a small jaw?
- Does your tongue have teeth marks on it from pressing it up against the teeth all the time?
- Do you snore? Have you been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
- Do you wake yourself up from sleep with gasping or choking?
- Do you suffer from chronic headaches, neck aches, or backaches?
- Do you notice that your jaw pops or clicks when you open and close your mouth?
- Do you have a history of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, or thyroid disease?
- Are you struggling with your weight?
- Have you had teeth extracted to make room for braces?
- Do you have trouble with GERD or heartburn?
- Do you have a history of depression and/or anxiety?
- Do you have difficulty with falling and staying asleep?
If any of these apply to you, you should determine whether airway issues are involved.
Airway Obstruction in Kids & Teens
Sleep disordered breathing in children is an epidemic that is not getting enough attention.
Children with sleep disordered breathing (SDB) often exhibit different symptoms from adults. The indications that a child may suffer from SDB include mouth breathing, snoring, daytime sleepiness, crowded or crooked teeth, behavioral issues, chronic allergies, difficulties in school, and bedwetting. Studies have suggested that as many as 50% of children diagnosed with ADHD, may actually suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and that much of their learning difficulties and behavioral problems may be a consequence of chronic fragmented sleep. Children exhibiting even one of these symptoms should be evaluated by Dr. Alexander.
Don’t Wait! Early Treatment is Critical
When children are young, their bodies are able to adjust and mold easily, particularly in their mouth and their bone structure. Crowded teeth may force the tongue forward against their teeth, narrowing their dental arch and constricting the airway.
Now, putting ALL of this together – Dr. Alexander is passionate about airway issues, and for patients’ health. When you choose to consult with Dr. Alexander for your dental assessment, your examination will also include an airway assessment.