An Airway Analysis is another name for a Dental Cone Beam CT scan. This scan shows the relationship between the dental and skeletal tissues by taking highly detailed pictures displaying the anatomy of the nose, bones, and soft tissues to analyze abnormalities that could be affecting their breathing.
This scan is commonly used in our San Francisco dental office to look for signs of enlarged tissues that could be causing a person’s sleep apnea. If these abnormalities are detected, we can refer you to an ENT specialist or sleep study for an official diagnosis. This scan may also be used to look for obstructions of the airway before oral surgery or before a patient can undergo general anesthesia.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by enlarged tissues blocking a person’s airway while they sleep. A cessation of breathing that lasts for at least 10 seconds is indicative of sleep apnea and if the breathing stops and restarts 30 times per hour, this indicates a severe case.
Signs of sleep apnea include fatigue, restlessness, mood swings, snoring, teeth grinding, mouth breathing, dry mouth, headaches, waking up in the middle of the night, and memory problems. You may not realize that you have sleep apnea because you may not be aware that you stop breathing while you sleep.
When your breathing stops for 10 seconds or more, the oxygen levels in your blood drop and deprive the brain of oxygen, causing you to wake up to automatically restart breathing. Because this happens so fast, you may not remember waking up multiple times throughout the night.
Common issues that are detected from an airway analysis include nasal obstruction, enlarged adenoids, enlarged tonsils, chronic sinusitis, and enlarged turbinates. Nasal obstruction can be caused by infections or inflammation, while enlarged tissues are hereditary.
The airway analysis is taken with CBCT scans which capture high definition images of the bones and soft tissue in your face and neck. These scans give our team at 450 Sutter highly detailed information about any potential problems that are causing breathing or dental difficulties with minimal radiation exposure.
There is nothing that you need to do to prepare for the analysis. Our San Francisco team will simply be taking a scan of your face and neck which will take about 30 minutes. During the scan, you should avoid movements such as talking, swallowing, or moving the jaw from side to side.
The analysis is completely non-invasive and painless so there is no need for an anesthetic. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, contact us at Sutter Dental Collective today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Joyce Stein.