Airway Focused Dentistry

Airway Focused Dentistry

Airway Focused Dentistry, including airway issues, sleep disordered breathing, and sleep apnea

Healthy breathing day and night is an incredibly important component of Dr. Umeda’s overall wellness concept. We live in a society that too often undervalues the importance of sleep. However, possibly nothing is as important to your health and well-being as proper breathing and a good night’s sleep. Good sleep helps your brain work properly and promotes healing in your body. It protects your physical, mental, and emotional health.

SDB (Sleep disordered breathing) is a group of medical conditions that are characterized by abnormalities in the quality or pattern of respiratory activity. These include snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome, OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), and Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS).

Often, people don’t even realize that they have SDB, because they may have become accustomed to their own abnormal, strained breathing. Normal breathing should be through your nose, and it should be effortless and silent. Normal breathing allows your body to enter deep, restorative sleep whereby you wake up refreshed and ready for a new day.

Snoring and sleep apnea are not normal breathing patterns, and they are not healthy. Many common illnesses and diseases can be the result of interrupted or abnormal breathing during sleep, including increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, kidney disease, stroke, and mental health issues.

UARS is a common sleep disorder characterized by the narrowing of the airway, causing disruption to your sleep. A person with UARS often experiences fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and frequent awakenings throughout the night. It is also common to struggle with chronic insomnia.

Childhood behavioral issues can sometimes stem from undiagnosed airway problems. When a child can’t breathe through his or her nose, the only other option is mouth-breathing. Over time, breathing twenty-four hours a day through one’s mouth takes a toll on the development of the mouth, airway, and the child. The signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation are almost identical to those of ADD/ADHD.

Dr. Umeda has extensive training in the screening, diagnosis, and management of SDB. Dr. Umeda can recognize the signs of SDB through facio-skeletal development, excess tissue, mouth breathing, tongue posture, and specific types of tooth wear. He also uses a high-resolution pulse oximetry screening to obtain objective data to further assess your risk factor and attain a diagnosis.

Dr. Umeda is a graduate of the “Airway Focused Mini-Residency,” a program designed to educate doctors on the West and East Coasts about the critical relationship between the structure of the human airway and facial development. Dr. Umeda is also certified through the Vivos System, a treatment that addresses the underlying condition and not just the symptoms. He is also an ambassador with The Breathe Institute, having trained in functional frenuloplasty and participated in surgical opportunities that this advanced institution offers.


Airway Focused Dentistry

The Vivos System is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment protocol which includes a comfortable, custom fit, oral appliance similar to an orthodontic retainer. The Vivos appliance is typically worn only in the evening and overnight.

Patients attest to transformational life improvements from wearing the Vivos appliance. Many patients report feeling a new zest for life with their dramatically increased energy brought about by improved breathing and sleep. Other patients describe having more optimistic attitudes because daytime drowsiness is gone and chronic pain issues are decreased or eliminated. Parents also share stories of behavioral improvements with children that wear the Vivos appliance for correcting airway issues. The videos at the bottom of this page give an overview into how the system works and present testimonials and case studies of actual Vivos users, many of whom have replaced their cumbersome and uncomfortable C-Pap mask used for sleep apnea with the Vivos appliance.

Other SDB management and treatment options are available, depending on the nature and severity of SDB and your personal preferences.  Weight loss and other lifestyle changes such as the avoidance of alcohol or certain medications may be recommended in some patients. Myofunctional therapy, which is a series of exercises guided by a trained myofunctional therapist, is beneficial to other patients. In more serious cases, surgical intervention (such as remodeling the muscle attachment under the tongue or expanding the dental arches) can make enormous improvements in breathing, sleep, and well-being.

If you feel tired in the morning, suffer from morning headaches, snore or gasp for air at night, or have any reason to suspect that you or your child’s sleep breathing may be disordered, please call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Umeda today.


What is VIVOS?


Sleep Apnea in Children


Dr. Tara M. Griffin, DMD

Jeanette Hayward

Scott Cornell

Ed Sheffield


The following videos explain how habits such as breathing through the mouth can provoke a malocclusion (Crooked Teeth) in children. This can be prevented and treated. Please contact us for additional information.


A “tongue-tie,” otherwise knows as ankyloglossia, is an excessive soft-tissue adhesion on the underside of the tongue, which may result in restriction of tongue movement or position depending on severity.


Though ankyloglossia can create a significant range of
developmental and structural abnormalities in various life
stages, it is often poorly understood, even amongst welleducated
members of the medical and dental community.
To many, it is hard to attribute such a significant effect to
what appears to be such a small band of excess tissue.
Others, including our doctors, recognize the potential for
this small tethering of the tongue to cause or contribute
to a worsening of the following:

• Difficulty Breastfeeding
• Problems Introducing Solid Foods
• Swallowing Dysfunction, Including Gagging, Choking,
or Vomiting
• Challenges with Speech Articulation
• Mouth Breathing
• Tonsillar Enlargement or a Chronic Sore Throat
• Recurrent Ear/Throat Infections / Need for Ear Tubes
• Restriction of Jaw Growth and Development / Need for
Jaw Surgery
• Dental Crowding / Need for Orthodontics / Increased
Risk of Orthodontic Relapse
• Bed Wetting
• Snoring
• Restless Sleep / Frequent Awakenings at Night
• Sleep Disordered Breathing
• Excessive Daytime Tiredness
• Decreased or Lack of Dreaming
• Difficulty Awakening in Morning
• Obstructive Sleep Apnea
• Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia
• Cognitive Deficits / ADHD
• Behavior Problems
• Stress, Anxiety, or Depression
• TMJ (Jaw Joint) Dysfunction

About us

Airway Focused Dentistry


Providing solutions for complex dental problems in a pain free and supportive environment.



1580 Makaloa St.
Suite 560
Honolulu, HI 96814


(808) 942-9420

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