Why Go To An Orthodontist For Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing intermittently stops and starts during sleep. People with this condition often stop breathing several times during the night.
Sleep apnea is usually caused when the muscles in your mouth and throat relax, making the tissues collapse and block the airway. If not treated in time, sleep apnea may lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and an increased risk of diabetes.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Here are some of the common signs of sleep apnea:
Treating Sleep Apnea With Oral Appliances
Sleep apnea can be either treated through continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or oral dental appliances. CPAP is used to consistently blow air down your throat to keep the airways open.
This treatment is best for moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea. For mild to moderate cases, oral dental appliances are just as effective. Two of the most common dental devices to treat the condition include:
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)
These appear like athletic mouth guards and can be fit over your upper and lower sets of teeth. A hinge in the center is used to link the two trays with each other.
MAD works by keeping your jaw and tongue in a slightly forward position during the night. It prevents the soft tissues in the rear of your mouth from blocking the airway while you sleep. Experienced dentists can keep adjusting the position of the devices during follow up visits in order to ensure effectiveness.
Tongue Retaining Device
These look similar to the MAD, but consist of a small compartment that encloses the tongue in order to hold it in a forward position using suction force.
It is essentially a small piece of plastic that is placed on the lips. It looks like a large pacifier with a hole through which you can insert your tongue. Tongue retaining devices are effective for getting rid of snoring that occurs when your airway is blocked.
Braces and Aligners
They may be used by your orthodontist to treat obstructive sleep apnea resulting from misaligned teeth. These appliances systematically move the teeth away from their incorrect positions and position them where the airway would not get blocked. Braces and aligners can be used to treat the condition in both children and adults.
Rapid Palate Expander
These are mostly used to treat obstructive sleep apnea in children. The appliance is attached to the upper molars with the help of bonding or cemented bands. It also consists of a section that bridges across the upper jaw. The aim of a rapid palate expander is to enlarge the space in the upper jaw.
Benefits of Oral Dental Appliances
Oral appliances are not only lightweight and comfortable; they offer many other benefits. Here are some of the main advantages of opting for oral devices for sleep apnea:
Oral devices used by an orthodontist can be highly effective for treating sleep apnea. No matter which treatment you opt for, it is vital to be consistent with it. If you suffer from symptoms of sleep apnea or notice any signs in your partner, schedule an appointment with us at Nelson R. Diers Orthodontics by calling us at (513) 829-4400 today.