Obstructive Sleep Apnea
February 28, 2022
Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes intermittent airflow blockage during sleep and is seen in all age groups. When the muscles in your throat relax and block your airway during sleep, or you have a nasal obstruction, your chest muscles and diaphragm have to work much harder to open your airway and pull air into your lungs. While experiencing obstructive sleep apnea, your breath can become very shallow, or you may even momentarily stop breathing.
Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, abrupt awakenings, dry mouth, sore throat, memory loss, difficulty concentrating during the day, mood changes such as depression or irritability, high blood pressure, and decreased libido.
Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important for your health. To treat your sleep or airway disorder, we must first understand the root of the cause.
If nasal obstruction plays a role, we must find ways to improve your nasal breathing. If your jaws are impeding your airway or encroaching on your tongue space, we can find an orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontically, our solutions to resolve an airway problem include improving nasal breathing and getting the tongue out of the back of the throat. We incorporate both dental and skeletal expansion in our treatment plans. At our orthodontic offices in Seattle and Bellevue, we work closely with Sleep Medicine Physicians, ENTs, and Oral Surgeons. When appropriate, we set up patients for orthognathic surgery to help provide a more permanent solution to their airway and sleep problem.
CPAP machines and oral appliances are useful and help some people as they help get the tongue out of the way. In our practice, we look for ways to help our patients breathe better without needing an oral appliance or a CPAP machine.