How Orthodontics Relate to Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea: The American Epidemic

It has been estimated that approximately 18 million Americans suffer from some degree of sleep apnea and many are even unaware of their condition. This sleep disorder is often characterized by fitful sleeping and grogginess during waking hours. The condition, if left untreated, can increase risk for more serious health conditions such as heart problems, stroke, diabetes, and more.

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the sleeper's breathing pattern is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea may stop breathing sometimes a hundred times during the course of their sleep. Obviously, when someone isn't breathing, the brain and rest of the body are not getting enough oxygen, which is what leads to the more serious health complications.

What does this have to do with orthodontics in New York?

Although the two may seem unrelated, orthodontics can play a significant role in the diagnoses and treatment of sleep apnea. The relation begins with frequent visits between a patient and his or her orthodontist. Especially true for young adults and teenagers, orthodontists are some of the most frequently visited health providers. This builds a strong relationship between the two, whereby communication about possible symptoms of sleep apnea may surface.

Another way that orthodontics can help diagnose is through the technology used in orthodontic treatment. For example, at Seligman Orthodontics, PLLC, we use a 3D CT scanner as an element in our preliminary treatment phase. The image results allow for the measurement of airways both before treatment and after treatment.

Many conditions that require orthodontic treatment have been linked to insufficient airways that can cause sleep apnea. Significant overbites are often associated with collapsed airways. When the jaw is not properly positioned, it affects the flow of air and ease of breathing. Realigning the jaw, which is often one of the most important end goals of orthodontic treatment, can open up the airways in the patient, eliminating the cause of sleep apnea.

How can Dr. Seligman and Seligman Orthodontics, PLLC help?

Throughout the course of our practice, we have seen firsthand how orthodontics can help children, teenagers, and even adults overcome the harmful symptoms of sleep apnea. Because of this, we can confidently say that at our office, straighter teeth are just the beginning.

Effective orthodontics can cause a substantial improvement of our patients' overall health; it is those cases that make us love what we do even more. We encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Seligman if you have any of the possible symptoms of sleep apnea, including:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat
  • Waking up with choking or gasping sensations
  • Daytime sleepiness/grogginess (hypersomnia)
  • Restless sleep
  • Forgetfulness, mood changes, decreased ability to focus

For parents of young children who snore, are tired during the day, and lack the energy they need to pay attention during school: seeking the counsel of a New York orthodontist for child orthodontic treatment can significantly improve your child's life. Early intervention with orthodontic treatment often is driven by the main goal of opening airways and causing the proper positioning of the tongue and lower jaw. This allows for teeth to grow straight from the very beginning, oxygen to flow well, a better night's sleep, and more energy during the day. It all comes back to the right orthodontic treatment, and you can get that at Seligman Orthodontics, PLLC! To schedule a consultation with orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedic specialist Dr. Seligman, contact us at (212) 988-8235.

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