Did You Know Your Orthodontist Can Treat Your Sleep Apnea?

At Smashing Smiles Orthodontics in Washington, D.C., patients are getting straight teeth and better sleep thanks to Allena Willis Kennerly, DMD. While she treats all dental issues, she treats sleep apnea as well. 

If you have sleep apnea, you may not know it, but your partner will. They may tell you that you snore loudly or make weird snorting sounds. But even if no one is near you to hear it, there may be signs you just aren’t recognizing. Do you wake up after a full night’s sleep feeling exhausted? Or are you irritable during the day and find it hard to concentrate or focus at work? If so, you may have sleep apnea. If this sounds like you, it’s time to get in touch with Smashing Smiles Orthodontics.

Sleep apnea overview

If you have sleep apnea, your breathing stops for about 10 seconds multiple times a night. You may wake up gasping for breath, coughing, or feel like you’re choking. It can be scary for you and your partner. Causes of sleep apnea include:

Sleep apnea is serious, because it can put extra stress on your heart and can lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and diabetes, and other conditions.

Types of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common, and it occurs when tissue in your nose or throat blocks airflow. Central sleep apnea is rare. In this type, your brain doesn’t send breathing signals to your lungs. Some people have a combination of both types called complex sleep apnea.

Treating sleep apnea

Dr. Willis includes sleep apnea screenings in her patient assessments. She may ask you questions about your sleep habits and whether or not you snore. Furthermore, Dr. Willis is an expert on the makeup of facial structures, so she’ll notice any structural abnormalities when she examines you.

If your jaw is not aligned correctly, Dr. Willis may recommend that you wear an oral appliance at night called a mandibular advancement splint. The device gently brings your jaw and tongue forward while opening your airway, which should help you breathe better. Some patients report snoring less, sleeping better, and having more energy during the day. If this method doesn’t work, Dr. Willis may refer you to a sleep specialist for further testing and treatment.

If you have sleep apnea or want to see if you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with Smashing Smiles Orthodontic and start on the path to restful sleep.

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