The Link Between Orthodontics and a Good Night's Sleep

Your health depends on your ability to sleep through the night. At the very least, sleep deprivation can affect your coordination, concentration, learning ability, mood, and memory. Over time, it puts you at risk for hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. Many factors may be responsible for your tossing and turning, and you may have even sought help from your doctor. But if you haven’t seen any improvement, it may be because what you really need is an orthodontist.

Dr. Mark Luposello, Dr. Robert Marzban, and Dr. Ji Lim, along with our expert team here at LM Orthodontics in McLean, Virginia, see many patients who are frustrated by sleep disorders that haven’t been resolved with traditional treatments (such as CPAP). In many cases, we’re able to correct their issues with orthodontic treatments. Here are some of the conditions we can help you overcome so you can get the quality sleep you need.

Sleep apnea and orthodontics

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that causes you to stop breathing periodically and interrupts your nighttime rest. If you have central sleep apnea, your brain isn’t sending the right signals to the muscles that control your breathing, and you should seek medical attention right away. But if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it means you have something blocking your airway, and this is where we come in.

We are highly trained to identify and treat craniofacial abnormalities, which include the structure of your mouth, throat, and airway. About half of the people who suffer from OSA have a problem with their archway and jawbone, and if you’re one of them, we may be able to reverse the problem or at least improve it.

Better yet, we can treat children who show signs of future sleep apnea and therefore prevent it from ever happening. Early detection allows us to make sure your child’s jawbone grows to its full size and that their airway is wide and open so they stand the best chance of avoiding this life-threatening disorder.

Teeth grinding and orthodontics

A quarter of the people who suffer from OSA also grind their teeth at night. It’s a condition called bruxism, and you might not even know you’re doing it, but there are some telltale signs. You may wake up with a headache or a sore jaw, even some bruising. You may also feel fatigued throughout the day, even if you think you slept through the night. 

If you grind your teeth, whether or not you also have OSA, you’re doing a great deal of damage to your teeth. The sustained force over time wears down the enamel and leads to cracks and fractures and eventually decay. It also changes the surface area of your teeth and throws your bite out of alignment, which in turn affects your jaw. 

We can help put a stop to your bruxism by either alleviating your sleep apnea (if you have that, too) or by custom-fitting a mouthguard for you to wear at night to protect your teeth and your sleep.

Snoring and orthodontics

Another thing that could be ruining your sleep and also goes hand-in-hand with OSA is snoring. But there are other reasons you may be a snorer, even if you don’t have OSA. 

One of the most common culprits is an overbite. In this case, your jaw is recessed to the point where it constricts your airway when you sleep. We can help correct this problem with braces, clear aligners, or surgery if necessary. Solving your snoring problem also helps your partner sleep through the night as well.

If you’re not getting the rest you need, it may be because you haven’t been looking for the right kind of help. Call us today to find out if orthodontics can solve your sleep issues.

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