Can Orthodontics Help Fix Sleep Apnea?
If you’re tired of restless nights and incessant snoring, orthodontics in North Tampa may be the last thing you have in mind to fix your problem. But what if we told you that the art of straightening teeth goes beyond aesthetics? Within the field of orthodontics lies a powerful arsenal of tools and techniques that can effectively address sleep apnea, a disruptive sleep disorder.
How Can Orthodontics Combat Sleep Apnea?
Expanding the Upper Jaw
Orthodontic treatment can use oral appliances that expand the upper jaw. By widening the arch, more space is created for the tongue and soft tissues, reducing the likelihood of airway obstruction during sleep. This expansion promotes proper airflow and can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Malocclusions, or misalignments of the teeth and jaws, can contribute to sleep apnea. Orthodontic interventions, such as braces or clear aligners, are designed to correct these misalignments, improving the positioning of the jaws and creating a more open airway. Consequently, orthodontics can effectively reduce the risk of sleep apnea episodes by aligning the teeth and jaws.
Advancing the Lower Jaw
In some cases of sleep apnea, the lower jaw may be set too far back, causing the airway to narrow and leading to breathing difficulties during sleep. Orthodontics can use specialized appliances, such as mandibular advancement devices, to gently push the lower jaw forward. This repositioning helps keep the airway open, facilitating smoother breathing and reducing sleep apnea symptoms.
Orthodontics and Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices or splints, can be prescribed by orthodontists to treat sleep apnea. These custom-made devices are worn during sleep and work by adjusting the position of the lower jaw and tongue to prevent airway blockage. Orthodontists play a crucial role in designing and fitting these appliances to ensure optimal effectiveness and patient comfort.