Apnea is a Greek word that means “without breath.” There are three types of sleep apnea diagnosis:
No matter the difference in the cause of each type, in all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing several times during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and each time it can last for a minute or longer.
Studies show that you are at higher risk for sleep apnea if you are overweight, male, and over the age of forty. Although anyone is at risk and can suffer from sleep apnea, even children. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. One method of treating sleep apnea is a C-PAP (Continuous positive air pressure) machine involves a mask to be worn while sleeping that forces air into the lungs preventing apnea to occur. Unfortunately not all patients with sleep apnea can tolerate wearing a C-PAP and need an alternative to treat their condition.
Here at Okotoks Orthodontics, we work in conjunction with your general dentist and physician to treat medically diagnosed sleep apnea. After receiving a sleep study — which is directed by your physician — Dr. Darin, or your general dentist, can fabricate a custom dental appliance designed to treat Sleep Apnea. This type of appliance holds the lower jaw forward to improve the airway during sleep.
There are times that the lower jaw wants to stay in the forward position. This reveals itself as a change in a forward change in the “bite.” This is where orthodontics can help by increasing tongue space and oral volume through development of the jaws non-surgically (with appliances and braces) to fit the teeth together in the new forward jaw position. In extreme cases, surgery is required to move the jaws forward to improve the airway.