Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder marked by interruptions and pauses in breathing during sleep in children and adults. Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to several serious health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and liver problems.
Sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a sleep physician, but there are orthodontic and dental solutions that may help to reduce sleep apnea symptoms. We recommend that you talk to your doctor if you suffer from the symptoms of sleep apnea. Common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Personality changes and irritability
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Mouth breathing or dry mouth
- Frequent morning headaches
- Bruxism (tooth grinding)
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux)
Sleep apnea treatment is dependent on the severity of the condition. If you suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, our orthodontist, Dr. Kirby Nelson, may recommend an oral sleep appliance. The oral appliance works to treat obstructive sleep apnea by fitting over your teeth and keeping your airway open while you sleep. It can work by preventing the tongue from blocking the air passage or by holding your jaw in a position that prevents airway blockages during sleep. There are also various options to treat children with obstructive sleep apnea, so please let your orthodontist know if you are concerned about your child’s sleep or breathing.
For more information on sleep apnea treatment, we welcome you to call or visit our orthodontic practice at one of our convenient offices in Maple Valley or Enumclaw, Washington.