The American College of Prosthodontists guidelines for obstructive sleep apnea call for airway screening before fabrication of a maxillary splint because it can have a negative impact on apnea due to the alteration of the vertical dimension. As Spear Resident Faculty member Dr. Jeff Rouse explains, that's why clinicians should be “Airway Aware” before making sleep appliances.

Dr. Rouse addresses what it means to be “Airway Aware” and how to do airway directed treatment planning in a new Study Club module titled, “The Evolution of FGTP: Airway Aware and Airway Directed Treatment Planning” (3.0 CE credits).

Dr. Rouse says that airway prosthodontics builds on Spear's foundation of Facially Generated Treatment Planning (FGTP), which establishes the esthetics of the maxilla before moving to function, structure, and biology (EFSB).

“In 2016, Spear integrated airway into its treatment planning philosophy and in this module, we develop a strategy based on Airway Aware and airway directed planning,” Dr. Rouse says. “We also identify how airway can be implemented in the dental practice.”

Since airway was integrated into Spear's FGTP philosophy, there has been high demand from study club members for airway modules so they can grow clinically, add profitability to their practices, and improve patients' overall health.

With this newest module, club members can now learn how a traditional dental examination can provide the information required to discover complex interdisciplinary care. Dr. Rouse discusses real case examples that highlight how airway fits into everyday practice, and airway considerations for treatment planning.

Club members will walk away understanding the difference between making sleep appliances and examining for airway dysfunction and how to create a case presentation based on the airway, esthetics, function, structure, biology (AEFSB) system.

“The Evolution of FGTP” is the first of two airway-related modules presented by Dr. Rouse. A second module, “The Blending of Airway and TMD,” will be released this spring.

In addition to airway-related Study Club modules, Spear also recently released five new airway Patient Education videos, which visually explain airway related conditions and procedures to patients chairside:

Dr. Rouse is a pioneer in the field of airway prosthodontics – the impact that a compromised airway has on the stomatognathic system. Along with fellow Spear Resident Faculty member Dr. Greggory Kinzer, he developed the "Seattle Protocol" to recognize, control and direct resolution of airway distress in a restorative dental practice.

Restorative dentists, specialists and other interdisciplinary team members can follow Dr. Rouse's content to learn how to set patients up for airway discussions that promote greater awareness of the impact of issues like breathing and sleep on their oral health.