Sleep Apnea in Plano, TX
Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing, and as many as 20-30 times per hour while you sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea, each time your breathing stops, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can’t detect the condition during routine office visits and no blood test can help diagnose the condition.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep, causing shallow breathing or breathing pauses.
The structure and relationship of our jaws and muscles can be one of the many contributing factors to sleep-related issues. Specifically, a narrow upper jaw can lead to upper airway constrictions that diminish the quantity and quality of our sleep. In addition, people with small and retruded lower jaws may be forcing their tongues back into their airways, which interferes with normal sleep patterns.
Here are some common signs of sleep apnea:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night, short of breath
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
- Headaches upon waking in the morning
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
Sleep Apnea Treatment at Gupta Orthodontics
For people who have very narrow upper jaws and have problems breathing through their nose such as with the upper airway resistance syndrome, we expand the upper jaw to be wider and the floor of the nose is expanded as well to create more nasal volume. This is a common orthodontic treatment, especially for children. The rapid palatal expander is an appliance to expand the upper jaw. It is an effective way of treating sleep apnea and sometimes this expander therapy is combined with tonsillectomy to achieve maximum results for kids.
For adult patients, there have been recent innovations and breakthroughs that now allow us to expand the upper jaw in older patients. This cutting-edge technique is called Miniscrew-Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion or MARPE. Patients who have difficulty breathing through their nose or have been diagnosed with upper airway resistance syndrome are ideal candidates for this treatment.
For people who have small and retruded lower jaws, pushing the tongue backward, we re-position the lower jaw forward using orthodontic appliances. If you prefer not to have the full brace treatment, we can use a simple oral appliance that can be applied just during the nighttime.
These appliances prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissue so that the airway stays open during sleep.
Orthognathic Surgery (Maxillomandibular Advancement)
For severe cases, we recommend orthognathic surgery in conjunction with braces, which has been proven to be the most effective surgical treatment for sleep apnea.
Orthognathic surgery moves the upper and lower jaws to correct jaw discrepancies. For sleep apnea patients, the main focus of the surgery is to expand the airway. As a result, most of the time, the upper and lower jaws are moved forward. As the bones are surgically advanced, the soft tissues of the tongue and palate are also moved forward, again opening the upper airway.
Orthognathic surgery can allow patients to breathe better, correct functional problems, and dramatically enhance the patient’s appearance. This is the most effective surgical treatment for sleep apnea with high success rates and long-term stability.
What should I do if I suspect someone in my family suffers from sleep apnea?
Contact our practice, and we can refer you to a sleep apnea specialist. The specialist may recommend a sleep study to diagnose the precise extent of the problem and can prescribe appropriate treatment. Depending on your situation, treatment may involve an oral device that we can custom-design for you.
Why choose Gupta Orthodontics for your sleep apnea treatment?
Dr. Gupta has extensive experience evaluating and treating symptoms of sleep apnea. He attended a cutting-edge institution where they were pioneers in using different types of expanders to help treat sleep apnea and reduce symptoms such as snoring and drowsiness. His thorough review of patient history and experience with different treatment modalities make him the go-to Plano and Dallas-Fort Worth orthodontist for airway-related orthodontics.