If you struggle with sleep apnea, you are not alone; it is estimated that over 3 million people in this country live with this condition. Sleep apnea is earmarked by breathing interruptions and loud snoring during sleep. It may require your practitioner or doctor to order testing for diagnosis and treatment, which often includes medications and lifestyle changes to resolve.
If you wear equipment like braces or retainers, you may find relief from symptoms of sleep apnea. Can orthodontics help sleep apnea? Here’s what you should know:
Sleep apnea is a common condition that can actually result in episodes of breathing cessation during sleep. Most with sleep apnea snore, and this medical condition can contribute to other significant health issues like chronic fatigue and high blood pressure.
So, can wearing orthodontic equipment reverse sleep apnea? Not exactly, but it can result in a more-open airway and less apnea symptoms for many who wear specific orthodontic devices. Braces can be effective at reducing episodes of sleep apnea for many patients, though those with issues related to weight or lifestyle, such as smokers, may find the equipment is less effective at reducing sleep apnea symptoms. Talk to your orthodontist to learn more about how orthodontic equipment may help your sleep apnea symptoms.
If your case of sleep apnea is a result of misalignment of the jaw, an area orthodontist may be able to provide you with a custom device or fitting that is worn at night while you sleep. This could realign the jaw in such a way that the airway is more open, resulting in less snoring and breathing interruptions. But, like anything, this is only effective when worn consistently.
If you really want to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, you may need to prepare yourself to make some lifestyle changes. Some contributing factors to this common condition are excess weight, alcohol use, and smoking. Make sure that if you are provided a mask and continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), that you use it consistently. This helps to open the airway that is compromised when you have sleep apnea. Also, the CPAP machine can help lower blood pressure within three months of regular use.
Could your orthodontic equipment help with the symptoms of sleep apnea? Talk to your provider at Reese Orthodontics to learn more. Wondering if you need braces? Call to schedule an appointment for your orthodontic consultation today.