1. Mallampati Airway Exam

  

2. Scalloped tongue

During an apnic event the tongue will force itself forward to remove itself as an air-blocking barrier.  Repeated compressions like this, pushing against the teeth, will leave impressions in the lateral edges of the tongue. The patient subconsciously  tries to force the tongue to move forward from the air tract and forces it against the teeth.This sign is readily detectable. This is also called Crenulated Tongue.

This indicator is nearly infallible; it must be differentiated from a similar condition (sign) in  a thyroid disorder.
We are in an excellent position to screen for sleep apnea and to help identify our undiagnosed (and therefore, untreated) OSA patients.
How can you miss these clinical signs?
You…..
• have direct observational access to the physiological structures of your patients’ upper airways
• are already screening chair side for other health conditions that can be easily spotted during a dental visit
• may see these patients more frequently than primary care physicians will, and are nearly one quarter more likely to see a dentist than a physician over any given time period.

Your field of operations is right next to the opening of the airway.