Sleep apnea prevention with airway prosthodontics

The most fascinating part of this experience is their new focus on airway prosthodontics. This is not to be mistaken with sleep apnea dentistry. Sleep apnea dentistry is the final result of a problem that the Spear Education system says can be predicted and even prevented with early intervention.

Evaluating (and improving) how you breathe

Airway prosthodontics is the evaluation and treatment of the breathing systems of an individual which may cause a multitude of problems including:

  • Bruxism (tooth grinding)
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Sleep apnea
  • Irritability
  • Cardiovascular problem

The traditional approach to treatment is to make a night guard for adults and wait for children to “outgrow” this problem.

Recent airway theories maintain that the para-function of the jaw is to help the body get more air. With the traditional approach, the problem is already there and we are merely putting a bandage on it and not curing it.

In the realm of sleep apnea, the treatment involves appliances which move the lower jaw forward to open the airway, or CPAP appliances which push air into the airway with a mask worn during sleep. Unfortunately, research shows most patients are noncompliant with these forms of treatment due to discomfort. The average time spent wearing them is about 1-3 years.

The remaining 5 steps of the protocol have to do with appliance therapy of different forms, which act to open airways. Once a patient is comfortable and breathing better, a resolution step to get them out of an appliance is formulated using a multi-disciplinary model. The resolution step involves multiple disciplines, such as otolaryngologists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons.

The key is that a patient will be given the steps to final resolution and not be forced to live with “bandages” forever.