The Dawson Academy Blog

Dental Articles on Occlusion, Centric Relation, Restorative Dentistry & More

DeWitt Wilkerson, DMD is a senior faculty member at The Dawson Academy and co-owns DuPont & Wilkerson Dentistry in St. Petersburg, FL with fellow faculty member Dr. Glenn DuPont. He launched The Dawson Academy’s annual Airway Symposium and continues to lecture across the world about airway and TMD.

Recent Posts

Treatment Options for Adult Patients with Airway Problems

When it comes to treatment options for breathing and airway disorders in adults, I like to divide this up into two components. There are patients that can begin treatment that same day, to help deal with their immediate symptoms. Then there are patients that I must begin planning for more long-term and definitive resolutions.

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The correlation between bruxism and airway disorders

One of the things that really keyed us into the fact that airway and breathing disorders are very significant is that we began to see some things from studies that were done overnight that showed that it's very common for patients that have, let's say, sleep apnea, to have an apneic event, and at the end of that event, to have a bruxism episode.

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Integrating Airway Disorders into Treatment

So as we move into the future of complete dentistry, we're going to be finding that we will be doing more and more integration of airway disorders into our treatment planning and even into solving occlusal problems.

So for example, when someone's evaluated and we are able to identify that they have a breathing disorder or an airway disorder, we recognize that part of their airway disorder may be that they're now a mouth breather. As a result of that, their tongue remains low in the floor of their mouth, and as a result of that, their maxillary arch is not developed and they have crowding of the maxillary and maybe the mandibular arches.

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Tips for Treating Airway Disorders

So I want to give you a few quick tips on treating airway disorders. We're learning so much about this. It's been incredible. But let me just share with you a couple of key things to think about.

Number one, a lot of patients come in that are snoring or feeling poorly during the daytime or may have mild sleep apnea that are mouth breathers.

Very, very common. So here's a quick tip. Put tape across their mouth and have them breathe through their nose at night. Just try that, even as you first begin to analyze their airway problem. And often, you'll find that people will come back and say, "I slept great. I felt better. I wasn't snoring." And we've found that even mild apnea may go away through, just, simple mouth taping.

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Webinar: The More Complete 'Complete Dentist'

This is a new direction we are beginning to see, and that is the physician understanding the body can be dramatically improved by the input of the patient, of the person themselves; we are not totally controlled by our genetics. The whole idea of lifestyle health is something we are excited to learn (and teach you) about.
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