Obstructed Airways

Chase Dental Sleepcare

Dental Sleep Medicine located in New York City, NY & The Greater Metro Area

If you notice symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness or snoring during the night, the dental sleep specialists at Chase Dental SleepCare can help you determine if obstructions to your airway are to blame. Obstructed airways can prevent you from getting enough sleep and drastically decreases your quality of life. Chase Dental SleepCare has 11 convenient locations in New York: East Meadow, Melville, Smithtown, and Williston Park and Hicksville in Long Island; Oakland Gardens and Sunnyside in Queens; Lenox Hill and the Upper East Side in Manhattan; Pelham Bay in the Bronx; and Yonkers, New York. To schedule your assessment, call one of the offices today or book your appointment online.

Obstructed Airways Q & A

What is airway obstruction?

Airway obstruction refers to a blockage that prevents you from breathing properly. While some types of airway obstruction (like swallowing a foreign object) are sudden and severe, others can develop over time and impact your overall quality of life. Chronic airway obstruction can affect your sleep health and result in a number of sleep disorders. The most common sleep-disordered breathing conditions include:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OAS)

While you're sleeping, the muscles in your throat can relax too much, causing your airways to narrow and irregularities to your breathing. The symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Waking up abruptly
  • Waking up out of breath
  • Waking up gasping

Snoring is also a telltale sign of an obstructed airway. Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

If you notice symptoms or changes to your sleeping patterns, book an appointment at Chase Dental SleepCare to receive an evaluation of your condition. The team provides dental airway assessments to identify blockages and abnormalities in the airways. 

Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS)

UARS is similar to OAS in that it is caused by obstruction to the airways. While patients with OAS experience apnea and actually stop breathing for short periods of time, patients with UARS experience breathing resistance while asleep that can result in similar symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness and snoring. 

What causes airway obstruction?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to airway obstruction. They include:

  • Obesity or excess body weight 
  • Naturally narrow airways
  • Narrow arch
  • Position of the tongue
  • Scalloped or enlarged tongue
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Position of the teeth
  • Deviated septum
  • Allergies

Obstructed airways can lead to serious complications like high blood pressure and increased stress on the cardiovascular system. 

How is airway obstruction diagnosed?

To diagnose your condition, your dentist performs a dental airway assessment. During this assessment, your provider performs a physical examination of the structures in the back of your throat. This is used to determine your Mallampati score — a preliminary indicator of airway obstruction. If your Mallampati score is concerning, your dentist refers you to a home sleep test or an in-lab polysomnography.

How are obstructed airways treated?

Treatments include:

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
  • Custom oral appliance
  • Epigenetics 
  • Positional therapy

Your dentist works with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on the underlying cause of your condition. To find out which treatment is right for you, book your appointment by phone or online today.