The sad truths are that (1) sleep breathing disorders (SBDs) are highly prevalent and (2) SBDs are severely underdiagnosed. To make matters worse, traditionally there has been very little emphasis on SBDs in Medical School and Dental School programs. The good news is that breathing is rightfully getting more attention as indicated by the American Dental Association’s 2017 House of Delegate’s adoption of ‘The Role of Dentistry in the Treatment of Sleep Related Breathing Disorders’ . The American Association of Orthodontics is currently working on their own policy statement regarding SBDs.
As a dentist (UCLA School of Dentistry, Class of 2001), Dr. Phelps is uniquely positioned to screen patients for sleep breathing disorders as so many signs and symptoms of SBDs relate to teeth, jaws, and the associated tissues and structures.
As an orthodondist (UCLA School of Dentistry, Class of 2003), Dr. Phelps has the benefit of years of experience studying skeletal anatomy using iCAT CBCT imaging. There are many anatomical signs that indicate a history of airway obstruction. When comparing these anatomical signs to normal facial growth/development, Dr. Phelps can assess the risk of an underlying sleep breathing disorder.
The goal is to reach a diagnosis so proper treatment can be recommended. We work with our medical colleagues to achieve a sleep diagnosis and based on the diagnosis we will review/recommend treatment options.