The airway is a simple pathway through which outside air travels to the lungs. Air travels from the nose (nasal airway) to the back of the throat (retropharyngeal airway) and then to the lungs. Airway evaluation comprises looking at hard tissues, soft tissues and behavior. We utilize Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) as the first step to evaluate hard tissues and the airway passage to identify deficiencies and create a targeted treatment plan to resolve the issues. One of the factors which Dr. Taera Kim considers when providing orthodontic treatment is how well her patients can breathe. It has become clear that issues such as snoring or mouth breathing might be more than just minor nuisances; they could be signs of bigger problems affecting health and development. Dr. Kim evaluates if there are any concerns such as:

Hard Tissue

  • Deviated septum
  • Narrow nasal floor/Narrow palatal roof
  • Setback upper jaw (retrognathic maxilla)
  • Setback lower jaw (retrognathic mandible)
  • Others

Soft Tissue

  • Enlarged turbinates
  • Nasal valve collapse
  • Tongue size
  • Tongue tie (ankyloglossia)
  • Others


  • Nasal/Mouth breathing
  • Tongue position at rest
  • Sleep patterns and behavior
  • Daytime fatigue/hyperactivity
  • Others

At Metro West Orthodontics & Periodontics, we are all about looking at the big picture to ensure you can enjoy a healthy life. We understand that it takes more than just one expert to tackle these issues, and we have assembled a top-notch healthcare team that includes an oral maxillofacial radiologist, orthodontists, myofunctional therapists, ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists, sleep development professionals, physical therapists and therapists who specialize in the muscles of the face and mouth. Together, we look at every angle to make sure you not only end up with a great smile but also sleep better, feel better and thrive.

Focusing on airway evaluation is a crucial part of what we do. Orthodontics is not just about straightening teeth; it is about ensuring your child has a healthy foundation for growth and development. By taking a comprehensive approach, our orthodontist and team are committed to helping your child breathe easier, sleep better and ultimately lead a happier and healthier life.

Contact us today at 402-614-7022 to learn more about airway evaluations in La Vista, Nebraska, and schedule your appointment with Dr. Kim.