Breathing Easy: Understanding the Importance of Proper Airway Development
May 5, 2021
The term “upper airway” might make you think that this part of your anatomy is important only for breathing — but it can also affect other aspects of your health and quality of life. Let’s talk about why a proper airway in Southlake is vital, how you can recognize potential airway problems, and how an ALF appliance may be able to address various airway issues.
What Is the Upper Airway?
The upper airway extends from the nose to the carina (a ridge at the base of the trachea). It includes the nose, mouth, the pharynx, and a portion of the larynx. In addition to being a pivotal part of your respiratory processes, the upper airway also plays a role in speech and facial development. It goes through some significant structural and functional changes throughout a person’s life. In addition to changing during childhood and adolescence, its structure and function can also be affected by hormonal changes and physical trauma.
The Importance of a Well-Functioning Airway
Problems with the structure of the airway can lead to numerous issues. For example, an abnormality in the airway, such as a deviated septum or tongue tie, may contribute to habitual mouth breathing. Mouth breathing often alters the position of the tongue, which can adversely affect the development of the jaw. As a result, a child who usually breathes through their mouth may develop a jaw that is longer than it should be.
Another issue associated with improper airway development is sleep disordered breathing. A narrow airway may contribute to sleep apnea (a condition characterized by repeated pauses in breathing throughout the night). Sleep apnea has been associated with an increased risk of numerous systemic health conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular illness.
Recognizing Signs of an Airway Problem
Mouth breathing, an elongated facial appearance, and sleep apnea are just a few possible indications of an airway problem. Other signs and symptoms to watch out for include:
- Malocclusion (an improperly aligned bite)
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Dry mouth
- Abnormal chewing and swallowing patterns
- Frequent or persistent dental problems, such as cavities and gum disease
If you believe that you or one of your children is suffering from airway abnormalities, we invite you to visit Enclave Dental. Dr. Preetha Thomas is an experienced holistic dentist in Southlake who provides treatment with the advanced ALF appliance. This simple but effective orthodontic device applies gentle pressure to the jawbone, teeth, and gums to reshape the jaw to promote easier breathing and proper tongue placement.
ALF therapy can help patients of virtually any age, including both children and adults. It may be used in conjunction with other treatments to produce the best possible results. Dr. Thomas will carefully evaluate your oral structures before she recommends any treatment plan.
The structure of your upper airway can have a large bearing on your overall well-being! Being aware of signs of airway problems and seeking professional treatment might be the key to leading a healthier life.
More about Our Practice
Dr. Thomas is passionate about providing top-quality holistic care to her patients. In line with that goal, she is always looking for opportunities to further her education. She has even completed 200 hours of advanced training with Garetty Orthodontics. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Thomas, ALF therapy, or any of the other services offered at Enclave Dental, contact us at 817-912-1218.
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