Is your child always tired?
Do they have trouble focusing?
Are they often irritable and impatient?
If so, your child may be experiencing disrupted sleep, a condition that can affect the quality of sleep and can negatively effect your child’s overall health. For patients with disrupted sleep, breathing is impacted by a restricted airway. During sleep, the soft tissues of the throat can be compressed, causing the airway to be narrowed or even closed off.
Studies indicate that a child’s facial and dental growth and development can be significantly impacted by the new orthodontic treatments that work to provide proper nasal breathing, tongue position and closed lips. The position and shape of the teeth and jaws has also been connected to sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea which affect millions of people of all ages.
While receiving early treatment offers the most effective results, older teens and adults can also experience the benefits of airway orthodontics. We strive to provide our patients with the latest treatments for airway positioning, pediatric sleep apnea, and sleep disordered breathing.
Airway Orthodontics can be used to correct malocclusions that effect jaw formation, proper bite configuration, and other orthodontic concerns. Some malocclusions are developed at very early ages by habits such as thumb sucking, mouth breathing and poor tongue positioning.
In addition to decreasing oxygen levels, disrupted sleep may cause other health complications such as:
Orthodontic Treatment Options
Oral Appliance Therapy
Many adults who suffer from sleep apnea may be able to find relief using a custom removable oral appliance that adjusts the position of the lower jaw and tongue during sleep. These customized appliances can help to maintain an open, unobstructed airway when worn during sleep. Please be sure to bring your oral appliance in to your appointments to make sure it is fitting properly.
Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)
Used to widen or expand the upper jaw, a palatal expander can be used as an effective treatment for patients with sleep apnea. Expanding the upper jaw also effects the floor of the nasal cavity, helping to increase air flow and making breathing easier. PEDs are common orthodontic treatment for children, and have been partnered with tonsillectomies for maximum treatment results.
Orthognathic surgery, also known as jaw surgery, is sometimes used to treat sleep apnea or disrupted sleep. Used in conjunction with other traditional orthodontic treatments, this type of surgery is performed to correct misalignments or other abnormalities in the upper jaw and lower jaws. Orthognathic correction for sleep apnea is often conducted in stages and the course of treatment can last a few months up to one year or more. In order to perform the procedure successfully, the jawbones are adjusted in order to reposition the tongue and palate so that the upper airway is widened to provide unencumbered breathing. In addition to improved breathing and better sleep, orthognathic patients may also notice improved function and appearance when treatment is complete.