In previous articles, we’ve discussed the effects of airway clearance on infants, teens, and adults. We also shared information on how your dental care team plays a vital role in diagnosing and addressing any underlying issues that are affecting your ability to breathe naturally.
Airway obstruction may be caused by developmental issues (e.g., orofacial myofunctional disorders) or chronic respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma, allergies, COPD, etc.). Therefore, airway clearance allows you to maintain a clean environment in the airways to prevent these conditions from occurring. This also helps reduce infections in the ear or upper respiratory tract and prevents poor habits from forming, such as snoring, mouth breathing, teeth grinding, trouble swallowing, and sleep issues (e.g. Sleep Apnea).
So, now that you’re an expert on the differences between airway clearance vs. airway obstruction, you might be wondering how airway dentistry can help you or your child from developing breathing issues as you age.
What We Mean When We Say “Airway Dentistry”
Airway dentistry (also known as airway orthodontics) is a holistic approach to dental care that focuses on the orofacial development of patients to help diagnose and treat a series of underlying issues that are causing airway obstruction. Many experts believe that certain behaviors we practice as infants, including bottle feeding and soft food diets, do not allow us to properly develop our orofacial muscles, including the tongue. As a result, we may experience a range of orthodontic issues, such as spacing between teeth, crowding, or misaligned teeth.
Did You Know: Many children live with some form of tongue dysfunction, resulting in an underdeveloped jaw.
Because 75% of forward facial growth occurs before the age of 6, early intervention is highly recommended to support appropriate jaw dimensions, nasal breathing, and proper tongue position.
Airway clearance is not a quick fix. It’s a type of proactive (vs. reactive) therapy that works to correct the underlying issue that is causing you to experience airway obstruction. Depending on the type of treatment your dentist recommends, such as Myofunctional Therapy, it may involve a series of exercises you practice on a daily basis to help retrain your tongue and facial muscles to function properly.
Is Airway Dentistry Covered By Insurance?
The answer to this question will depend on your insurance plan and provider. At Dakota Dental, our team will work with you to educate you on your options, plan your treatment, and contact your insurance carrier, on your behalf, to find out if you qualify for coverage. We also offer financing options to help ensure you receive the necessary airway clearance treatment you or your child needs to help you start breathing easier.
If you’d like to learn more about airway dentistry and the type of treatment options that are available to you, contact our wellness center today to schedule a consultation.