You’ve heard that Invisalign® offers an alternative to metal braces, turning orthodontics into a covert mission. But you may not know that Invisalign has another trick up its sleeve: helping people with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of adults and children, but many don’t realize that the answer to restless nights can be found in the dentist’s chair.
Michelle Schwartz, DDS, Melissa Daza, DDS, and our Bucktown Wicker Park Dental team have years of experience helping sleep apnea sufferers in the Chicago area solve their sleep problems and improve their oral health in one fell swoop — here’s how.
Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing is temporarily interrupted while you sleep, most often because the tissue in the back of your mouth and throat are loose, closing the airway (obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA). While these disruptions in breathing might not rouse you, they restrict oxygen flow to your brain and affect your sleep patterns.
You usually find out you have sleep apnea when someone brings up your snoring problem, the startle response that gets you breathing again. That and the oppressive, chronic grogginess from insufficient rest are hallmarks of sleep apnea.
It may not seem like a big deal, and you might think you can treat it with an extra pot of coffee and a pair of earplugs for your partner, but you should know that sleep apnea opens the door to a slew of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
In short, snoring is the least of your worries when you have sleep apnea.
Fortunately, finding out that you have sleep apnea is often the biggest hurdle. The National Sleep Foundation discovered that sleep apnea affects up to 20% of the population, but only 15% of people with sleep apnea actually know they have it.
So, you should seek medical attention if you’re gasping for air during sleep, waking up with a headache and a dry mouth, irritable and tired during the day, or unable to sleep at night. Many treatment options for sleep apnea can address the underlying cause, help you sleep better at night, and help you avoid complications in the future.
The link between sleep apnea and your teeth
The most common cause of sleep apnea stems from some sort of obstruction in your airway, be it from a thick neck circumference, narrow airways, or even nasal congestion.
Sleep apnea can also result from or be exacerbated by certain orthodontic issues. There are some cases where your airway becomes restricted because of tooth misalignment, jaw misalignment, or dental arch issues.
When you have these orthodontic issues, your tongue doesn’t have enough room, so it falls back and obstructs your airway.
How Invisalign can help
Invisalign is one of the most effective ways to fix tooth misalignment issues. It involves a series of clear aligners that gradually move your teeth into the correct position. With your teeth back where they should be, your tongue has plenty of room to rest comfortably and won’t block your airway.
Our patients love Invisalign because it’s discreet and gives them the freedom and flexibility to eat what they want, clean their teeth easily, and avoid frequent trips to the dentist.
Though Invisalign offers many benefits, it’s not an option for everyone. If you have severe misalignment issues, we may recommend traditional braces. We carefully examine your teeth and evaluate your case of sleep apnea before recommending a treatment plan.
If orthodontic treatment isn’t an option for you, we also offer custom-made dental appliances to help keep your airways open while you sleep.
Don’t spend another day wishing you had slept better. Call our friendly staff at 773-252-2303, or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment today for more restful sleep tonight.