sleep apnea treatment

Can Orthodontics Help Sleep Apnea?

Austin, TX – Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that is characterized by sudden stoppages in breathing during the course of the night. Patients who suffer from sleep apnea may be extremely loud snorers and complain of feeling unrested, even after a night’s sleep. This can have serious impacts on the patient’s life.

“For patients who suffer from sleep apnea, there are other serious issues often linked, beyond just feeling tired,” says Dr. Silvana Gonzalez, an Austin area orthodontist. “Sleep apnea is linked to high blood pressure, as well as an increased risk for developing heart disease or diabetes.”

The good news, however, is that you can find relief from your orthodontist.

Traditional treatment for sleep apnea involves the use of a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). While this treatment is very effective, users find them cumbersome and difficult to sleep with. And they only work if they are worn properly and regularly.

And that’s where orthodontic treatment can come in. Your orthodontist can create a custom orthodontic appliance instead of a large CPAP machine at night. The appliance will look similar to a retainer.

“In sleep apnea patients, their abnormal breathing patterns during sleep are caused when the tissues at the back of the throat narrow, blocking the airway,” says Dr. Gonzalez. “The appliance works to reposition the lower jaw, tongue and soft tissues to allow the airway to remain open during sleep.”

But a visit to your orthodontist may do much more than just provide temporary relief. For some patients who suffer from sleep apnea, orthodontic treatment may help relieve their symptoms.

In some patients, the alignment of their teeth and jaw, as well as how their dental arches are spaced, may affect their breathing passages. If it is too narrow, the airflow can become obstructed during sleep. Orthodontic treatment can widen the arches, as well as position the jaws properly and realign the teeth to ensure there is adequate spacing for proper airflow.

It is estimated that nearly 12 million American suffer from sleep apnea. This condition can impact their daily lives, and many patients who wear CPAP machines find that an orthodontic appliance or orthodontic treatment can be a great alternative to the cumbersome equipment.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, call Dr. Gonzalez at Pure Smiles Orthodontics today to learn how orthodontics can help you – 512-215-2520.