Sleep Apnea

Like any serious condition, sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires urgent attention from a medical practitioner. But can an orthodontist help the situation? Yes, an orthodontist can help if you have obstructive sleep apnea. Although they cannot professionally diagnose or treat this condition, they can recognize its symptoms. That way, Pesh Orthodontics, Menifee can work alongside doctors by giving screening assessments and referring at-risk individuals for diagnosis and treatments.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you’re likely going to experience moderate to extended sleep disorders. That’s because your airflow is constantly wholly or partially blocked. Consequently, sleeping becomes more challenging than usual. And your brain can often send distressing signals to body muscles if the situation becomes severe. Sometimes it will even force you to wake up abruptly. This state of sleep disruption is the cause of problems like behavioral disorders, learning difficulties, and even obesity.

Whether you're suffering a mild or moderate OSA depends on the number of pauses-per-hour you make. If, for example, you make 5-14 pauses every hour, you have mild obstructive sleep apnea. On the other hand, a 15- 30 pause an hour indicates a moderate sleep apnea condition. And anything beyond 30 pauses per hour is severe.

How Orthodontics Can Help Treat Sleep Apnea

The situation resulting from obstructive sleep apnea can be fatal. Orthodontists can help to manage sleep apnea using dental appliances. A large part of managing OSA lies in airflow control. Using dental equipment, orthodontists can help keep your airways open, a vital step in managing the condition. Types of therapy they may apply to include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. CPAP therapy often applies to patients with mild to severe OSA. Your orthodontist will use dental appliances rather than CPAP if your sleep disorder is mild or moderate. The two commonly used appliances for sleep apnea are tongue retaining mouthpieces (RTM) and mandibular advancement devices (MADS).

Orthodontists fit the tongue retaining mouthpiece around the tongue, preventing the tongue from blocking airways. The RTM is helpful if you experience difficulty adjusting the muscles that coordinate the tongue. Like the RTM, the orthodontist uses the Mandibular adjustment device (MADS) to treat sleep apnea to improve your airflow; the only difference is the mechanism. The device correctly positions your upper and lower jaw by sitting between them. Its metal hinges hold onto the upper and lower teeth to provide support. And what's more, the device is adjustable. That means your orthodontist can customize it to fit correctly in your mouth, regardless of the size and shape.

Clinical Signs Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are many clinically defined signs of obstructive sleep apnea. For example, you commonly experience daytime sleepiness, suddenly wake up at night to gasp for air, have loud snoring habits, or choke in every one-hour cycle of 5 successfully obstructive respiratory events. A study by the National Center for Sleep Disorder estimated 50-70 million Americans as victimized by a sleep disorder. Sleep disorder also prevails—in large magnitudes in other western countries, with statistics showing at least 20% of the population having mild OSA and 7% experiencing moderate conditions.

And of all these OSA victims, only an estimate of 10% have received a diagnosis. Sadly, the other percentage tends to have severe risk factors estimated to reduce their lifespan by 8 to 10 years if they fail to seek a diagnosis. Besides other symptoms like heart problems, studies are continuously linking OSA to attention deficit disorder, but the underlying cause is yet to be mentioned. If you look closely at this list, you can readily predict the role of orthodontics in treating sleep apnea. But it's also possible to misdiagnose your child's sleep apnea for an ADD disorder because OSA causes them to have behavioral disorders accompanied by reduced productivity during the day.

Contraction Of Sleep Apnea

You can contract obstructive sleep disorder from various factors. These involve central nervous system depressants like alcohol, lying in the supine position, and obesity. Other causes are termed anatomic factors. These are large tongue, increased lower face weight, mandibular retrognathism, elongated soft palate, and dispositioning of the hyoid bone.

According to clinical researchers, you can easily predict whether you’re suffering from OSA using your body mass index, observed apneic events, and by measuring your neck circumference. On the other hand, it’s hard to tell if you have OSA by observing signs like snoring and hypertension. These signs are closely related to your everyday being.