Can Orthodontics Help Sleep Apnea?

8 Oct 2018 Braces

Sleep apnea is a common medical condition that can result in a cessation of breathing during the night. While the condition is often characterized by loud snoring, especially when breathing is restarted, many people may be completely asymptomatic. Silent or not, sleep apnea has the potential to create ongoing health problems like hypertension and chronic fatigue. Orthodontics may be a viable solution to help treat sleep apnea. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

How Long Do People With Sleep Apnea Stop Breathing?

The cessation of breathing during sleep can range from a few seconds to a few minutes. Even if apnea lasts a couple of minutes, it is generally not enough to deprive the body of oxygen long enough to do permanent damage. Some people who suffer from this condition may have as few as five or so episodes of apnea in an hour, while others may have up to 30 episodes. The more frequently the episodes and the longer the duration of breathing cessation, the higher the risk is to the individual.

Are There Different Kinds of Sleep Apnea?

There are three different types of sleep apnea. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea, where the airway is being physically blocked in some way. Central sleep apnea is caused by issues in the body’s own nervous system that renders it unable to properly regulate breathing during sleep. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

What Are Some Causes of Sleep Apnea?

There are many different causes of sleep apnea, and these are usually related to obstructive sleep apnea. Obesity is a leading cause, loss of muscle tone in the throat, enlarged tonsils, tumor growth, Down syndrome, and orthodontics issues like a large overbite or improper jaw alignment.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Sleep apnea is typically treated with the use of a CPAP machine. This is a special device that is worn at night during sleep and pushes air through the throat continuously to prevent the airway from collapsing.

Can Orthodontics Help Cure Sleep Apnea?

Orthodontics may be a helpful treatment for sleep apnea if the cause of the apnea is orthodontics related. For example, if the apnea is caused by a significant overbite, braces could be helpful in reducing the overbite and eventually eliminating it. Most likely, the individual would notice a gradual reduction in sleep apnea symptoms as the bite is corrected over time until eventually the bite becomes normal and the apnea ceases.

In situations where the lower jaw is not properly positioned, an orthodontist may develop a special device to be worn at night during sleep that keeps the jaw in the correct position. This allows the airway to be kept open and to restore breathing without the use of a CPAP machine, although it is only effective when the device is worn. Orthodontics is unlikely to help sleep apnea cases that are caused by other issues like obesity or enlarged tonsils.

When to See an Orthodontist

If you have sleep apnea that you believe may be caused by a misalignment of your jaw, an overbite, or another orthodontics problem, contact an orthodontist for examination and treatment. Call BB Braces Braces today for an appointment at (770) 629-8028.

What Can Invisalign Fix?

8 Oct 2018 Braces

You’ve likely heard about Invisalign and how it can help people with crooked teeth achieve a straighter, more attractive smile. While Invisalign can treat a wide variety of orthodontic issues, including both simple and complex cases, it’s important to evaluate if Invisalign will help you achieve your dental goals. Here’s what you need to know about what the treatment can and can’t fix, and how to find out if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign.

Overbite

An overbite occurs when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth when the jaw is closed. While most people have at least a little overbite, a very deep bite can cause pain and reduced aesthetics. Invisalign can gently bring the top teeth in and the bottom teeth out to help even the bite.

Underbite

An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth overlap the top teeth when the jaw is closed. This is often caused by the lower jaw being farther forward than it should be. While Invisalign can treat mild underbites by bringing the top teeth out and the bottom teeth in to even out the bite, some severe cases may require surgery in addition to orthodontic therapy like Invisalign or braces.

Open Bite

An open bite occurs when the bottom and top teeth do not meet when the jaw is closed. An open bite may make it painful or difficult to chew, especially when you need to bite down on things, such as eating corn off the cob. Invisalign works to treat an open bite by gradually and gently pushing the upper and lower teeth together.

Gap Teeth

Gap teeth occur when there is visible space between two or more teeth. While some people find gap teeth endearing, the space between teeth can cause food to get stuck and increase the risk of cavities. Invisalign can be used to gently push two teeth closer together to reduce or eliminate the appearance of a gap.

Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth occur when the teeth appear to be positioned at different angles instead of straight up and down. Most of the time this is a mild aesthetic issue that causes no real problems with dental health. However, straighter teeth can boost self-confidence and improve overall facial balance. Invisalign can help correct crooked teeth even faster than before.

Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth occur when permanent teeth come in too close to one another or there’s just not enough room in the jaw for all the teeth to fit. There may be a gap in one place that results in crowding in another. When teeth are too close together, bacteria and plaque can build up, but traditional flossing and brushing won’t remove it. This can affect dental health. Crowded teeth can become worse over time, so it’s important that they be treated as soon as possible. Invisalign gently rearranges the spacing between teeth to help them appear straighter and less crowded.

When to Book an Appointment with Your Orthodontist

If you have crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth, or have an underbite, open bite, or overbite, don’t wait to get in touch with an orthodontist. You deserve a healthy smile that looks good too! Call BB Braces Braces today for an appointment at (770) 629-8028.