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Airway Protocol


The Open Airway & Breath Institute is a dedicated holistic dentistry practice that specializes in proper breathing for promoting overall wellness. Dr. Robin Steely, DDS and our team utilize a protocol that allows our patients to focus on correct nasal breathing, screening tests, and relationships with sleep medicine specialists. Our protocol evaluates all underlying causes and incorporates biocompatible, minimally-invasive solutions. Each patient is treated individually, and all plans are created with that person’s goals in mind.


An airway obstruction is a blockage in any part of the airway. The airway is a complex system of tubes that are designed to transport inhaled air from your nose and mouth directly into your lungs. If there is any obstruction, this may lead to partially or totally preventing air from reaching your lungs. 


At the Open Airway & Breath Institute, Dr. Robin Steely, DDS believes in educating our patients so that we’re able to better understand the symptoms you’re experiencing and properly treat your sleep disorder. So, what is a sleep disorder? Sleep disorders are any condition that impacts the way you sleep. There are numerous types of sleep disorders that are usually grouped into categories based on why they’re happening or how they’re affecting you. Sleep disorders can also be categorized based on issues with your natural sleep-wake cycle, breathing concerns, certain behaviors, difficulty sleeping, or the amount of fatigue you experience during the day.

Airway obstructions are characterized by where the obstructions are occurring and how much of your airway it’s blocking:

  • Upper airway obstructions: Take place at the base of your nose and lips up to your larynx
  • Lower airway obstructions: Take place between your larynx and the passageway of your lungs
  • Partial airway obstructions: Breathing is still possible with partial airway obstructions but is still difficult
  • Complete airway obstructions: Breathing is not possible with complete airway obstructions and requires immediate emergency care
  • Acute airway obstructions: Take place quickly and refer to circumstances such as chocking on a foreign object
  • Chronic airway obstructions: Take place in two ways, either the blockage develops over a long time or the blockage lasts for a long time

The Implications of an Obstructed Airway


An obstructed airway is often an indicator of a more significant problem. There are numerous health conditions and accidents that can cause this symptom, requiring a trained specialist to conduct a comprehensive examination in order to produce the correct diagnosis. A blocked or obstructed airway may be an indicator of sleep apnea as well as other breathing and sleep disorders. 

The Symptoms of an


An obstructed airway can cause a wide variety of symptoms including:

  • Agitation
  • Cyanosis
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Gasping for air
  • Poor sleep
  • Panic
  • Wheezing and other nasal breathing noises
  • Snoring
  • Unconsciousness

There are also dental signs and symptoms that present as:

  • TMJ pain and dysfunction
  • Cavities
  • Gum (Periodontal) disease
  • Broken teeth
  • Fractured and missing teeth
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Airway Examinations for BATTLE CREEK PATIENTS

Screening can include a physical examination including an analysis of your mouth, lips, tongue, and posture. Our comprehensive screening process may also include a 3D scanning film that will show details about your throat volume and area, your jaw joints, and teeth. We can also screen for breathing oxygenation levels and the relationship between your heart and lungs. This is called cardiopulmonary coupling. The combination of these items in the physical examination will give us a clue about what is happening. Our team will ask extensive questions regarding your past medical history as well as your current symptoms in order to gain a solid foundation for diagnosis. The more information you’re able to share with us, the better we’ll be able to treat you.  

Battle Creek's Trusted


If a sleep study is indicated, Dr. Robin Steely, DDS will refer you to one of our board-certified sleep physicians for further testing. With a proper diagnosis, your treatment can be designed holistically to improve your overall health. In some cases, the most appropriate treatment can be CPAP usage. In others, oral appliance therapy is best. The right diagnosis is paramount to developing the right treatment. The Open Airway & Breathe Institute is dedicated to providing minimally-invasive treatment options that are designed around your specific needs. Our team will work with you to provide the extensive support you need in order to address lifestyle habits, nutrition, and other attainable goals for optimal overall wellness. We’ll work with you to improve your quality of life as well as mitigate the dangerous risks of chronic airway obstructions and its impact on your sleep. 

Support and Collaboration with


The Open Airway & Breath Institute is happy to work directly with leading board-certified sleep physicians to provide a cohesive team of professionals that advocate your goals and long-term success. Together, we’re able to deliver the comprehensive care that addresses the holistic aspects of your obstructed airway. We’re happy to work with your primary care physician and any other medical professionals to ensure we’re all on the same page for your customized treatment plan.  

The Complex Chewing System: HOLISTIC ORAL TREATMENT

Breathing and sleep disorders are usually the manifestation of earlier development challenges. It may be necessary to look at further dental treatment to correct imbalances in the skeletal system, TMJ problems, and bite issues. Utilizing our knowledge of the relationship between breathing, sleep, and typical dental/bite concerns, we can put together a long-term plan to help you gain the health that you are seeking. Dr. Robin Steely, DDS and our team take the holistic approach to diagnose underlying causes of all your symptoms, rather than treating each symptom on its own. If you are experiencing chewing system dysfunction or poor TMJ health, these concerns need to be addressed for optimal long-term success. We’re happy to share preventative tips as well to ensure your complex chewing system remains in the best condition possible. 

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Contact the Open Airway & Breath Institute today, Dr. Robin Steely, DDS and our team are ready to help you find renewed energy and health. Together we’ll find the right solutions to help you address your overall well-being. We welcome patients from Battle Creek, Bedford Charter Township, Kalamazoo, Portage, Marshall, Richland, Holland, Grand Rapids, Hastings, Charlotte, Springfield, and Coldwater. Please contact us or call 269-968-8151, we look forward to working with you!

The Open Airway & Breath Institute

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