About Airway Dentistry

Airway dentistry focuses on the how we breathe and those airway-related factors that lead to common orthodontic, health and 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 breathing problems that in turn can lead to issues that may impact our overall health. As a dentist, Dr. Ricardo has an in-depth understanding of the structure, function and behavior of the head, neck and face that facilitate airflow and how we breath. Dr. Ricardo has advanced training in airway focused dentistry and a range of therapies and treatments for children and adults.

Airway & Orofacial Development

As a species, we are seeing human faces and the maxillary and mandibular arches shrink. This is due to many reasons being further studied. However, some of these reasons could include:

  • Environmental factors / exposures to chemicals and hormones
  • Lack of hard food diets to encourage chewing that stimulates bone growth
  • Lack of breast feeding or bottle feeding that does not encourage the proper development of tongue function and swallow
  • Tongue ties that restrict the tongue from developing and supporting the bone growth of the maxillary and mandibular arches

All of these things can contribute to underdevelopment of facial bone structures and can comprise our airway and contribute to sleep-related breathing issues.

A comprised airway and facial underdevelopment can deprive our bodies of the essential oxygen it needs, especially during sleep. If the face is too small for the tongue to function properly, the tongue can be pushed back into the airway to contribute to sleep disordered breathing. If the palate is narrow and highly vaulted it can create nasal breathing issues, which can affect sleep through sleep fragmentation, which then in turn leads to autonomic nervous system dysfunction. People who suffer from sleep apnea, breathing disorders, TMJ, chronic headaches, malocclusion, anxiety and who clench or grind often find they have comprised airways.

Inadequate orofacial development (the way our mouth and face develops) is often due to habits we acquire as infants—such as bottle feeding, thumb sucking and an early diet of soft foods—that alter our facial muscle tone and teeth. In fact, when our upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) fail to reach their full potential, the end result could be orthodontic issues such as overcrowded teeth and overbites. The early development of the oral cavity will ultimately determine how resilient our airways are against obstructions that can have long-lasting effects as we get older.

Airway Analysis

Evaluating orofacial structure, function and behavior
Pittsford Smiles Dental is committed to helping you achieve better health through a comprehensive whole body approach to dentistry. Through an airway analysis, we look at behaviors related to breathing, sleep and lifestyle choices and assesses the structure, function and behavior of your head, neck, face and oral cavity as it relates to your oral and overall health.

About Dr. Ricardo

Dr. Ricardo Guarnieri has received advanced training and education to help uncover the underlying causes of airway and breathing disorders, and identify issues in their early stages. With a deep understanding of the critical relationship between the structure and function of airway, facial and oral development, Dr. Ricardo can show patients how oral health is directly connected to the whole body. Dr. Ricardo can recognize and prevent airway insufficiencies to ensure you’re on a path of total health.

Long Term Effect of Inadequate Orofacial Development

Learn more about sleep apnea in children and adults, the symptoms and how it affects your health.

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Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) is a sleep breathing disorder characterized by the narrowing of the airway that can cause disruptions to sleep and ultimately your total health.

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Improper tongue posture and oral posture can lead to malocclusion, orthodontic issues and sleep breathing issues. Explore myofunctional concerns and how it relates to your airway.

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TMJ is often a symptom of inadequate orofacial development. Learn more about the signs, symptoms and how TMJ is related to oral and overall health.

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Airway-Focused Dentistry Treatment Options

A comprehensive airway assessment includes an evaluation of the structure, function and behavior of your orofacial area.

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Myofunctional orthodontic treatment, or Myobrace treatment, is a non-invasive appliance system to help correct poor oral habits, and upper and lower jaw development issues.

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Learn more about this type of facial muscle therapy to correct improper swallowing habits often associated with orthodontic, speech and dental issues.

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Tongue ties have an impact of oral and facial development, which in turn impacts the development of the airway and sometimes a tongue tie release is necessary.

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Patient Education

The Breathing-Dental Breakdown

Learn more about how airway related breathing disorders are often associated with dental breakdowns and other health conditions, such as reflux, heartburn and migraines.

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The Truth about Tongue Tie

Being tongue tied is more than a figure of speech, it’s a real medical condition that affects oral and facial development and can lead to other health implications.

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Get the Scoop on TMJ

TMJ can be a pain in the neck … literally. TMJ often involves discomfort of the jaw, frequent head and neck aches, and more serious cases involve misaligned or a dislocated jaw.

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Child Sleep Disorders & Behaviors

Did you know that, in children, the symptoms of a sleep breathing disorder and sleep deprivation often manifest as being identical to a hyperactivity disorder such as ADHD or ADD?

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Snoring or Sleep Apnea

Loud snoring can be considered a major warning sign of sleep apnea. Both can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. Learn the signs of snoring versus sleep apnea - which is a serious medical condition.

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Articles & Posts

Our blog — Connections — features articles, research, advice, care and information on all things related to oral health, airway dentistry and total health by Dr. Ricardo.

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