Sleep is supposed to be restful and restorative, but for 90 million Americans, catching some Z’s is interrupted by snoring. Although many people believe that snoring is only harmful for those who are woken up by the noise, it can indicate larger health issues. Fortunately, orthodontics can prevent and treat some of the most common causes of sleep problems that could otherwise leave you exhausted after a full night of sleep.
What Causes Snoring
Snoring indicates some form of airway obstruction, which results in the airflow into and out of your lungs becoming louder and more forceful. Snoring can be caused by many factors, including your sleep position, nasal problems, sleep deprivation, and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea, the most common cause of snoring, is a potentially dangerous condition in which breathing stops and starts while sleeping. When untreated, sleep apnea can lead to heart problems, stress, and high blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent form of this condition. It occurs when airways are blocked or narrowed during sleep. When the airway narrows or collapses, breathing temporarily stops (these moments are usually too brief to remember).
How Braces Help Snoring
For those with obstructive sleep apnea or airway issues, a visit to the orthodontist may be in order. Your orthodontist will be able to diagnose several orthodontic problems that may be the root cause of your snoring, such as a jaw or bite problem, tooth misalignment, or a narrow palatal arch.
Misaligned teeth and overbites are more than cosmetic issues. An overbite paired with a recessed lower jaw can pinch your airway while you sleep. And, if the palatal arch is too narrow, your tongue may block your airway and impact breathing at night. Braces and aligners can move misaligned teeth into place, correct bite issues, and prevent nighttime grinding or clenching associated with sleep apnea.
A rapid palatal expander can be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea issues in children. These devices widen the palatal arch and prevent future airway issues. This appliance is bonded to the upper molars and arches across the upper jaw. By using a rapid palatal expander, the palatal arch can be opened up, creating a wide healthy smile. Addressing the cause of childhood sleep apnea is extremely important, as obstructive sleep apnea tends to worsen with age.
Ready to sleep like a baby? Call 614-885-2000 to schedule a consultation with Hutta Orthodontic Specialists. Our experts look forward to meeting you and delivering the healthy, happy smile you deserve.