What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a disorder that pauses breath and causes shallow breathing during sleep. Throat muscles relax and the airway becomes blocked, which restricts the amount of air that reaches your lungs.
This restriction results in a lack of oxygen to the brain and usually causes the person to either wake up briefly or shift so air flow is restored.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
The signs of sleep apnea vary, but you may experience:
- Loud snoring
- Shortness of breath
- Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
- Frequent headaches
- Feeling tired after a full night’s sleep
Long-Term Consequences of Sleep Apnea
Without treatment, over time sleep apnea may have long-term consequences for your health. Under severe circumstances, sleep apnea may cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Orthodontic Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Orthodontic appliances are commonly used to help people who have mild to moderate sleep apnea. These appliances are worn in the mouth, similar to a sports mouth guard. These appliances hold the lower jaw forward enough to keep the airway open. The appliance prevents the tongue and muscles in the upper airway from collapsing and blocking the airway.
Although there are a few over-the-counter appliances you can buy, there are certain risks to consider. Most appliances bought over-the-counter may not be FDA approved for sleep apnea.
If the over-the-counter appliance is an improper fit, it could cause side effects such as tooth movement, jaw problems, and under some circumstances, it could worsen sleep apnea.
Fry Orthodontics and Treatment for Sleep Apnea
If you or your child are currently experiencing sleep apnea issues and are interested in learning more about how Fry Orthodontics can help, make an appointment today at one of our 13 offices.