How Airway Orthodontics Relieve Sleep Apnea

Has your dentist in Alabaster, AL, mentioned the benefits of airway orthodontics? Airway orthodontia is a branch of dentistry that deals with the way we take in oxygen. Sometimes, dental problems or abnormalities can make it difficult to breathe as easily as we should. When this happens, airway orthodontics may bring big relief. It may be especially helpful for those who suffer with obstructive sleep apnea.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that occurs during sleep. It happens when the muscles in your throat relax too much, causing tissue to intermittently block your airway. Some people have obstructive sleep apnea so bad they stop breathing many times during the night. While it’s rarely fatal, this disorder can cause a restless night and may make you feel tired and irritable the next day.

Most people who suffer from this form of sleep apnea don’t even realize they have it. A visit to the dentist may be the reason why it’s eventually diagnosed.

How Do Airway Orthodontics Help?

Oral appliances that reposition your jaw or tongue are often helpful in relieving the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Your dentist may also recommend a device called a CPAP machine. This works by delivering continuous airway pressure as you sleep. This pressure prevents the soft muscles in your throat from relaxing too much.

In severe cases, surgery that repositions your jaw, removes oversized adenoids or tonsils, or straightened a deviated septum in your nose may also be beneficial.

Airway Orthodontics in Alabaster, AL

If you’re interested in learning more about airway orthodontics in the Alabaster, AL, area, Albritton and Ardovino Family Dentistry can help. Call today to set up a convenient time to come in and meet with one of our friendly and experienced dental clinicians.

Your Dentist in Birmingham, AL, Can Treat Your Sleep Apnea  

Sleep apnea is a common yet potentially serious sleep disorder that affects approximately 10 percent of women and 25 percent of men in the United States. People of any age can develop sleep apnea, including infants. However, the sleep disorder is most common in people over age 40 and those who are significantly overweight.

Other Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea

People with a large neck and certain structural abnormalities of the jaw and throat have a higher risk of developing sleep apnea. These factors include:

  • Certain neuromuscular diseases
  • Certain pulmonary and cardiac diseases
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Heart failure
  • Low-hanging soft palate
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Overbite resulting from having a small jaw
  • Previous stroke

Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily develop sleep apnea even if you have several risk factors.

Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

When the soft tissue situated near the rear of the throat collapses during sleep, it causes people to momentarily wake up gasping for air. The incident may only last for a few seconds and be so brief that you don’t remember it in the morning. Here are the most common symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating, irritability, and/or forgetfulness
  • Feeling restless during sleep
  • Headaches
  • Night sweats
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Snoring
  • Sore throat and/or dry mouth when waking up in the morning

The effects of sleep apnea often impact the bed partner as much as the person afflicted with it. If you have trouble remembering any episodes or symptoms the next morning, be sure to ask your partner to fill you in on the details.

Standard Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Alabama

Most people visit a doctor rather than a dentist when they struggle with symptoms of sleep apnea. Doctors typically prescribe a CPAP machine that keeps the airways open as you sleep. Unfortunately, the machine is rather large and cumbersome, making it difficult for you to get comfortable at night and nearly impossible to share a bed with a partner.

We take a different approach at the dental practice of Albritton & Ardovino by prescribing a dental sleep apnea appliance instead. You wear the device only at night, and our dental laboratory creates it specifically for the size and shape of your mouth. Please contact us today to learn more about treatment for sleep apnea in Alabama.