If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may be looking for ways to get a good night's sleep. While there are many recommended treatment options for sleep apnea, orthodontic treatment is one option that can improve the quality of life and health outcomes of people with this condition.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects millions of people. It's characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, which can last for seconds or minutes and may occur many times during the night.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your throat muscles relax to the point where they block your airway. When this happens, it prevents you from getting enough oxygen and causes pauses in breathing that are noticeable to others. Sometimes, those pauses occur 20 or more times per hour while you sleep!
The effects of OSA on your health can be significant: researchers have found links between OSA and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and stroke.
With so many serious consequences associated with untreated OSA, it's essential to talk with your orthodontist if you suspect you might suffer from this condition — even if nobody else has ever suggested it before!
How Can Orthodontic Treatment Help
Orthodontic treatment can help improve your oral health and quality of life in the following ways:
It can help improve your quality of life by making it easier to smile, speak, chew, and swallow. For example, when you have a straight smile, you’re more likely to feel good about yourself and less self-conscious about how others perceive you.
Orthodontic treatment can also help improve your overall health by reducing tooth decay and gum disease (periodontitis) risk. These two conditions are often linked with sleep apnea.
Bacteria may cause tooth decay from plaque buildup on teeth that occurs while the patient is sleeping or sedated during sleep studies — periodontitis occurs when bacteria enter the gums through tiny cracks or spaces between teeth and bone around them.
If not treated promptly — and sometimes even if it is — this infection spreads into deeper layers of tissue in the mouth until it reaches other body parts such as lungs or heart valves.
Treatment Can Improve Your Overall Health
If you suffer from apnea, orthodontic treatment may help improve the quality of your life. Sleep apnea is when the airway becomes blocked and prevents oxygen from entering our body during sleep.
Left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends screening patients with sleep apnea for potential dental appliances such as a mandibular advancement device (MAD) or tongue retaining device (TRD).
These devices can hold open the airway during sleep so that it will not collapse on itself when we are unconscious. This is especially useful for individuals with mild to moderate apnea cases since they can prevent symptoms from worsening over time.
Meet With An Orthodontist
Meet with an orthodontist to discuss your symptoms and determine the best treatment plan for you. The orthodontist will review your medical history, including any previous health complications that may have contributed to sleep apnea. They can also help you understand the cause of your sleep apnea and explain treatment options if they apply.
You'll be able to ask questions about what type of device is best suited for you, as well as how long it will take before you feel relief from other symptoms related to your condition.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea May Have Serious Consequences
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes you to stop breathing during your sleep. This can be very dangerous and may lead to serious health problems if left untreated.
What are the consequences of OSA?
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
In addition to these physical problems, untreated OSA can cause daytime fatigue and poor concentration/memory.
Jaw Alignment Issues Can Contribute to Sleep Apnea
Jaw alignment issues can cause or contribute to obstructive sleep apnea. Patients with an open bite, small jaw size, and other jaw problems will find that orthodontic treatment can effectively correct these issues and improve breathing while sleeping.
Some patients who have undergone dental surgery or are wearing dentures may also benefit from orthodontic treatment in the form of space maintainers or night guards to keep their mouths in the right position at night when they're not wearing any appliances during the day.
Dental Appliances Can Help
Dental appliances such as night guards, mouth guards, and retainers can help some people who have sleep apnea.
Mouth guards are used to protect teeth from grinding. If a person with sleep apnea grinds their teeth while sleeping, a mouth guard can minimize the pressure on their jaw and teeth.
This appliance is most often recommended for people with severe cases of dental problems that result in pain when they breathe or chew during the day (such as TMJ) and who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea at night.
Retainers can be used to treat overbites or underbites (an overbite occurs when your upper teeth overlap your lower ones). Retainers are sometimes prescribed after orthodontic work has been completed to help maintain the alignment achieved by having braces during treatment time frames before permanent adult teeth erupt into place.
Mouth guards are another type of dental appliance designed specifically for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea — these devices work by creating an artificial space inside your mouth so airways will remain open all night long without any excess force being exerted on soft tissue structures like tonsils or adenoids (which could otherwise cause them blockage).
It is important to remember that you should always consult a doctor before making any decisions about treatment for sleep apnea.
A visit with an orthodontist who specializes in treating patients with this condition may help identify the cause of your symptoms and develop a customized treatment plan for you.