How your orthodontist can help treat sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have far-reaching effects on your quality of life. Fortunately, it is also something your orthodontist can help manage.

A good night’s sleep is more powerful than any drug, any food, any lifestyle choice and any form of exercise. Without sleep your body doesn’t perform maintenance, doesn’t replace cells as efficiently, doesn’t ‘clean’ the brain of toxins and isn’t able to heal or grow effectively.

We cannot survive for long or function properly without good sleep. That’s why sleep apnea is such a troubling condition.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

The main symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, but not all snoring means you or your child have sleep apnea. That’s why it is important to consult a dental professional with experience in treating sleep apnea to have it correctly diagnosed.

There are three types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and is caused by something blocking your airway or your child’s while asleep. Central sleep apnea is where the issues are caused by the brain or nervous system and mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both.

Symptoms of sleep apnea can include:

  • Pauses in breathing while snoring
  • Choking or gasping for breath while asleep
  • Sore throat or dry mouth after waking up
  • Tiredness during the day
  • Regularly falling asleep when resting
  • Headaches first thing in the morning
  • Irritability
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping throughout the night
  • Reduced libido

How your orthodontist can help treat sleep apnea

Some causes of sleep apnea can be alleviated with an orthodontic device such as a type of brace called a Mandibular Advancement Splint or by a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Sleep apnea can be caused by tooth alignment, jaw alignment and issues with the dental arch. All of which your orthodontist can help treat with these two devices. In children, sleep apnea can be alleviated with Rapid Palate Expension. This appliance helps open your child’s airway.

The Mandibular Advancement Splint works like a brace and is tailored to fit your mouth and align the jaw to alleviate the condition. The CPAP machine is a device like a breathing mask that uses air pressure to keep your airway open and prevent sleep apnea.

It is important to be diagnosed by a professional if you think you or your child suffer from sleep apnea as many of the symptoms can be caused by completely unrelated conditions. Only an experienced orthodontist can help with the dental aspects of sleep apnea.

Bedminster Orthodontics have the skills, training and experience necessary to correctly identify and treat sleep apnea. Call us and schedule a consultation today on 908-781-7037.

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