Foundations of Airway-Focused Dentistry

As dentistry has continued to innovate, a dynamic and transformative approach that goes beyond the confines of routine dental care has emerged. At the intersection of structural anatomy, respiratory physiology, functional medicine, and overall well being lies the philosophy of Airway-Focused Dentistry. As we continue the enlightening educational journey with Reclaim Dentistry’s upcoming CE event: Introduction to the Philosophy & Practice of Airway-Focused Dentistry, let’s delve into the core concepts that underpin this paradigm shift in patient care.

When we talk about “airway,” we’re not solely referring to the passage through which we breathe. Instead, we’re speaking to a comprehensive study of how the relationship of the head and face structure, nasal cavity, tongue function, swallowing mechanics, and even lifestyle choices collectively shape our overall health. Airway-Focused Dentistry transcends the conventional scope of dentistry to embrace a holistic perspective—one that addresses not just dental issues, but their far-reaching consequences on the entire body.

Central to the Airway-Focused Dentistry philosophy is a multi-dimensional evaluation of structure, function, and behavior. By meticulously analyzing the complex interaction of these three factors, we uncover the root causes of health concerns rather than merely treating symptoms. This approach empowers us to create comprehensive treatment plans that nurture health and wellness from their origins.

But why is this approach necessary? Why are we seeing such prevalence of these issues? As anthropologists inform dentistry, a compelling trend has been emerging in our species: the gradual reduction in the size of humans’ lower and mid faces and subsequently all the problems with the dental arches of the upper and lower jaws. This phenomenon is driven by a multitude of factors, namely dietary shifts that hinder proper bone growth, modern infant feeding practices that don’t promote optimal tongue function and swallow, the prevalence of tongue ties that restrict proper tongue movement and strength,

and environmental considerations and exposure to chemicals and hormone modulators that impact bone growth and development.

The implications of craniofacial underdevelopment are vast and hugely impactful to the individual. Sleep and breathing are significantly altered by these structural issues, leading to sleep-disordered breathing and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. TMJ problems, chronic pain, occlusion irregularities and digestion issues are often intertwined with these structural changes as well. The intricate relationship between airway, craniofacial structure, and overall health means that addressing one aspect can have a positive cascading effect on others. Meanwhile, improvements to skeletal structures and spacing issues can dramatically transform smile and facial esthetics.

Airway-Focused Dentistry doesn’t just diagnose problems; it presents actionable solutions. By understanding the connections between structure, function, and behavior, we can help patients make meaningful changes to enhance their health and overall well-being. As we embark on this educational course for providers, our goal is to illuminate a path to holistic and interdisciplinary patient care. By acquainting you with the principles of Airway-Focused Dentistry, we hope to equip you with the knowledge to identify structural, functional, and behavioral concerns in your patients. Together, we can explore the realm of possibilities this approach offers and work towards a future where integrative dental care catalyzes transformative impacts on comprehensive health.

We hope you’ll join us at one of our upcoming CE courses in October and November, where we will dive even deeper into these concepts and their practical applications as we work toward fostering a new era of patient care that transcends boundaries and embraces the profound connections between dental health, overall well-being, and the power of our collective efforts.

Don’t continue to suffer from dental emergencies. At Reclaim Dentistry in Wheat Ridge, CO, we’re here to help you get the care you need. Our friendly and professional staff, led by experienced Dr. Schwandt, is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality of care. Contact us today to book your next appointment, and let us help you reclaim your smile.