Can Orthodontics Help in Sleep Apnea?

Can Orthodontics Help in Sleep Apnea?

March 1, 2022

Most people think that snoring is normal. While snoring can result from simple issues such as poor sleeping postures and weight gain, sometimes it can point to a severe problem such as sleep apnea. When someone has sleep apnea, their breathing stops and begins suddenly and repeatedly when sleeping. These sleep disturbances can lead to further obesity, learning difficulties, behavior disorders, and unproductivity.

Usually, there are three major types of sleep apnea. These include:

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It happens when the muscles in the back of your throat relax, causing a blockage in the airway. The muscles support the soft palate, tongue, tonsils, and sides of the throat.

Central sleep apnea is a less common type of sleep apnea that happens when your brain doesn’t send proper signals or transmissions to the muscles that control your breathing. It stops breathing for short periods.

Complex sleep apnea is also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It occurs when someone has both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Fortunately, you can treat many cases of sleep apnea. The treatment can ease the symptoms and help prevent other complications such as heart problems. For this reason, you should visit a dentist near you or contact our dentist in Northeast Calgary if you think you might have sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes where you stop breathing
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Morning headaches
  • Awakening with dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating while awake
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

When left untreated, sleep apnea can worsen existing severe conditions such as:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Depression
  • Repeated strokes
  • Repeated heart attacks
  • Repeated heart failures
  • Repeated strokes

How Can Orthodontics Treat Sleep Apnea?

You can treat some types of sleep apnea with orthodontic treatments. You might be aware of orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign and traditional braces. Mainly, these treatments straighten crooked or misaligned teeth and close unhealthy teeth gaps.

You might not know that these orthodontic treatments can also aid in treating sleep apnea. Obstructive airway blockage that causes sleep apnea can worsen with orthodontic issues such as jaw misalignments, tooth misalignments, and dental arch issues. Patients with orthodontic problems require specialized treatment and care.

Orthodontic Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Based on the exact orthodontic problems you have, the dentist will work with you to create a treatment plan that suits you the best. Your dentist can recommend three major types of dental devices for sleep apnea.

  • Braces and aligners

Traditional braces and aligners treat sleep apnea caused by misaligned jaw and crooked teeth. Traditional braces which consist of metal wires and brackets attached to the teeth to move them to the desired position. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign®, use clear or invisible trays worn over the teeth to move the teeth gradually to the desired position.

Straightening jaw and teeth out of their incorrect positions means that there will be no longer blockage airway. You’ll enjoy quality sleep and have a straighter smile. Most people opt for clear aligners such as Invisalign because they offer a less noticeable appearance.

  • Rapid palate expander

This option treats sleep apnea in children. A rapid palate expander is a dental device affixed to your upper molars by bonding or cemented bands and bridges across the upper jaw. This device is essential to widen the space in the upper jaw, reducing the blockage that causes sleep apnea.

  • A mandibular advancement splint

It’s a customized brace that changes jaw alignment when sleeping. The device slightly causes the lower jaw to move forward and downward. It helps widen the airway, reducing the prevalence of sleep apnea symptoms.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Contact Sunridge Dental Clinic to speak with our orthodontist in Northeast Calgary for more information about orthodontic treatments and sleep apnea.

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