In some cases obstructive sleep apnea is greatly worsened by problems with the jaw. In patients with deep bite in which the top row of teeth covers the lower row completely, for example, the first part of the airway can be compromised. The mouth closes too much and the rest of the airway is too narrow. Therefore obstructive sleep apnea is directly related to an orthodontic problem and obstructive sleep apnea can be corrected with orthodontic treatment and/or orthognathic surgery.
Orthodontic treatment for obstructive sleep apnea
We have discussed how braces and orthodontic treatment can improve malocclusions. Braces and other dental devices can improve the way that the teeth meet and the jaws close. When the teeth are brought into proper alignment and the jaws close as they should, the airway is wider than it would be in someone with a severe overbite, underbite or deep bite. Therefore braces and orthodontic treatment can help improve the cosmetic look of the teeth but it can also treat the very serious condition of obstructive sleep apnea. Moreover, when orthodontic treatment is performed for this purpose it is more likely to be covered by dental health insurance which will lower the cost of braces.
Orthognathic surgery for obstructive sleep apnea
Orthognathic surgery is surgery on the maxilla (top jaw), mandible (bottom jaw) or both. Orthognathic surgery can be used to correct obstructive sleep apnea in patients that have severe jaw abnormalities which cause breathing difficulties. These jaw abnormalities can be the result of traumatic injuries or they could simply be the way that the jaws developed from birth onward. An orthodontist or an oral surgeon may be able to perform orthognathic surgery that will bring the jaws into better alignment and, in effect, open the airway. This orthognathic surgery can be a treatment for certain patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Since it is a medically necessary treatment in properly identified orthodontic patients, most medical and dental insurances cover orthognathic surgery for this purpose. Your orthodontist can provide you with more information about orthognathic surgery.
[S1]Link ”Problems addressed with orthodontic treatment”
[S3]Link “The cost of braces”