If you’re getting braces for yourself or your child, your goal probably includes correcting problems like sleep apnea. So it may be disconcerting to think that you could have sleep apnea caused by braces. However, your fears are unwarranted since braces do not cause sleep apnea. In fact, the changes they make to your oral structures could potentially help treat the problem.
If you live with sleep apnea, speak with your orthodontist about how braces might help, as well as any other ways that orthodontic treatment can improve your sleep.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is sometimes self-diagnosed prematurely if a person has simple snoring issues or gets up in the middle of the night. Something else could be to blame. True sleep apnea is when breathing troubles keep you waking up constantly, usually more than 5 times per hour.
The result of sleep apnea is consistent fatigue and brain fog, which over time can lead to more systemic health problems such as high blood pressure. Sleep is the body’s natural restorative state. Therefore, anything that disrupts it will have a bigger impact on your well-being than simple fatigue.
The Types of Sleep Apnea
“Sleep apnea” is a term that refers to three slightly different types. The first and most common is called obstructive sleep apnea, which is when the problem is caused physically.
In central sleep apnea, the disturbances are caused by issues in the sleeper’s nervous system. And in mixed sleep apnea, the sleeper suffers from a combination of physical and neurological causes.
Knowing the type of sleep apnea a person has is crucial to treating it. The root cause of the problem must be determined for each case individually.
It is not uncommon for sleep apnea, whatever the cause, to result in daily impediments such as a lack of focus, an uneven mood, fatigue, and irregular concentration, regardless of the type that the sleeper suffers from.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Despite being different for everyone, sleep apnea often has causes related to body weight in both obstructive and mixed sleep apnea. Excess weight or a lack of muscle mass can make it difficult for the body to support itself normally in a sleeping position.
For central sleep apnea, the cause can be related to any condition that affects the central nervous system, causing a lack of breathing control on the neurological level.
How can Braces Help Sleep Apnea?
Knowing that the causes, whether physical or neurological, don’t usually relate to the sleeper’s oral health, you may be wondering how braces can treat sleep apnea.
The answer is that even in the presence of other factors, the alignment of your teeth and jaw, as well as the spacing of your oral arch, impacts your ability to breathe while sleeping. The core of any cause of sleep apnea, after all, is an impacted airway that causes breathing issues.
Braces will usually not be prescribed to treat sleep apnea since the cause of the sleeper’s disturbance is likely something else. However, braces will not cause sleep apnea and may in fact help symptoms in the long run due to how oral alignment can improve breathing.
What are Other Options for Sleep Apnea Treatment?
As far as orthodontics go, custom mouthguards can be made that help the sleeper breathe while lying down. They do this by repositioning the lower jaw to promote better breathing.
Non-orthodontic treatments for sleep apnea focus on opening the sleeper’s airways using other means. The most commonly prescribed treatment is a CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. These machines create a stream of continuous airflow that promotes even, deep breathing and helps you stay asleep.
In some cases, the root physical cause may require surgery to correct, such as an invasive procedure that opens up the sleeper’s airways. Speak with your provider about what options are best for your needs.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.