Airway Related Sleep Problems: Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Forward Head Posture

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Do you have airway related sleep problems?

airway-related-sleep-problemsDo you wake up at night feeling you are unable to breathe? Does your bed partner say you snore or quit breathing during the night.

Do you wake during the night to urinate?  Do you wake in the night and can’t fall back to sleep?

These can all  be considered  warning signs that signal serious, sometimes life-threatening problems.  They  are  signs of  disruptive  sleep patterns.

Airway related sleep problems can cause:

  • irritability
  • nervousness
  • breathing problems
  • daytime sleepiness and
  • inability to concentrate
  • motor vehicle accidents or near misses
  • panic attacks
  • weight gain and inability to lose weight
  • metabolic issues
  • hypertension
  • sexual disorders
  • personality changes
  • marital problems

airway-related-sleep-problems-chicagoThis is only  a partial list of the numerous serious ailments that you could probably do without. Many of these problems are caused by airway constriction which may not be clearly visible when an examination is carried out by a doctor.  Frequently patients with airway disorders are unaware of their sleep problems.

When these problems just don’t seem to be going away you may be able to seek relief through dentistry.

Your airways could be keeping you awake

Maintenance Insomnia is when patients wake during the night and cannot go back to sleep or are awake for extended periods.

If your airways continually become obstructed and breathing issues persist over time, you may suffer from something called obstructive sleep apnea. There could be more serious health outcomes, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, too. These become more likely if you are not getting enough rest and sleep at night.  Untreated sleep apnea has been shown to increase risks of heart attacks and strokes 600% or more. Patients with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to die in their sleep than during exercise.

There are a number of reasons why you might have night breathing difficulties. The position of your tongue may be blocking your airway, for example. Any of these problems may cause a lack of oxygen. Your dentist may be able to find a solution for your breathing trouble by using a tried and tested device.  CPAP IS CONSIDERED THE GOLD STANDARD OF TREATMENT FOR SLEEP APNEA BUT THE MAJORITY OF PATIENTS CANNOT TOLERATE CPAP.  90 % of patients prefer the dental alternative to CPAP when offered a choice.

Dental solutions for airway problems

There are a variety of dental solutions available to keep your airways clear while you sleep. One is what is called a tongue retraining device (TRD). This is a splint which positions the tongue in the correct place to allow plenty of space to breathe and prevents collapsed airways.

A second device is what is called a mandibular advancement device (MAD) which looks similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard. The airways are kept clear because the MAD exerts a force on the lower jaw. It pushes it forwards and down a little. The potential benefits of these dental devices include sleep improvements and a reduction in the incidence of snoring.

There are over 100 different types of oral appliances that open or stent the airway to treat sleep apnea and snoring.  The American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine offers Diplomate status to dentists with the highest degree of education and training.

Start feeling rested in the morning

If you are finding sleep difficult because you are unable to breathe properly and you have been unable to find a medical diagnosis for your problem, then your solution could be dental sleep medicine and/or physiologic dentistry.  Physiologic Dentistry can measure the current physiologic state and guide treatment positions.

We will examine your condition to ensure that nothing else is causing your airway problems. At last you should be able to breathe more easily and you will no longer feel tired throughout the day.

Forward head posture is a warning sign of airway problems

The blockage of the airway because of jaw and tongue position alters our normal head posture.  We bring our head forward , when awake to breathe better but this puts us at risk for headaches, neck pain, low back pain and particularly TMJ problems.…

Orthodontic Treatment of Sleep Disorders

Dr. Shapira Orthodontic Treatment of Sleep Disorders 0 Comments

What do I do about sleep apnea and snoring?


Do you have trouble sleeping and stay awake at night for hours, or find yourself waking up suddenly, gasping for breath? You may have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea. If you have a sleep disorder you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Loud and persistent snoring
  • Persistent sleepiness during the day
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decrease in work efficiency.

These symptoms could be due to sleep apnea. This sleeping disorder happens when you are unable to breathe easily while asleep because your airway is obstructed in some way. Not getting sufficient oxygen while you are sleeping means you haven’t achieved the deep sleep that is required for normal functioning during your waking hours.

You may be unaware of your night time breathing problems, since you seem to sleep through the night. This often results in feeling tired even though you got a good amount of sleep. There are some new orthodontic treatments for sleep apnea which may help to alleviate these symptoms. These are called epigenetic orthodontics.

Epigenetic Orthodontics for sleep disorder treatment

Epigenetic orthodontics is a treatment specifically designed to grow jaws orthopedically and to grow airways pneumopediclly to prevent airway obstruction.  This is different from typical orthodontics because it does not use heavy mechanical forces to move your teeth. Instead, a removable device called Daytime-Nighttime Appliance™ (DNA appliance™) is placed on your teeth throughout the evening and night, which lets the body alter the positions of your teeth more naturally and gently.

Genetics is the study of genes and our genotype describes the actual genes in an individual.  Phenotype is a description of how our genes are expressed.  Epigenetics is the study of how environment changes our gene expression.  The DNA appliance is used to correct acquired deformities and to bring out the ideal form and function.  Dr Shapira recently lectured (March 2014) at the ICCMO meeting in Buenos Aires on the common developmental pathways of TMJ and Sleep disorders and the epigenetic causes of these problems.

It has become common for children to do two step orthodontics with expansion (growth) being done as a first phase and braces or invisalign as a second phase of treatment.  This has not been possible in adults until now.  The DNA appliance allows us to grow and expand adults today .

These newly developed DNA appliances™ don’t depend so much on the continuous force that traditional orthodontic braces use but instead they help to move the teeth, the jaws, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the face and the airway into better relationships which help to ensure adequate sleep and correct breathing. The DNA appliances™ are made with special  3-D Axial springs™, which do not require any adjustment on a regular basis but puts vibrations into the system which greatly enhances treatment.

The RNA Appliance is a combination DNA growth appliance and a Mandibular advancement sleep apnea appliance.  There are published case reports of sleep apnea cures from treatment with DNA and RNA appliances.

The Epigenetic Orthodontic treatment Difference

Typical force orthodontics is a 4 step process.  The force is appliaed leading to inflamation (and pain) which causes the bone to resorb, the teeth move into the area of resorbtion and consolidation occurs.

Epigenetic Orthodontics eliminates the inflammation and pain by the gentle vibrations and the fact that movements are only 250 microns per adjustment.  This eliminates most or all of the pain associated with orthodontics.

Discover the DNA device

The DNA device is the most recent non-surgical device now in use to help address the causes of sleep apnea. As an alternative to other forms of sleep apnea treatment, it works by naturally remodeling your airway. It widens your arch while altering your oral cavity’s shape. Its aim is to improve your breathing.

Many people depend on other devices, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which pushes oxygen into the lungs by force, but it is hard for many people to use. As well as helping to change the way you breathe, DNA straightens your teeth while creating more aesthetic facial features.  A wide full smile is one benefit of the DNA Appliance but it allows us to permanently correct growth discrepancies without surgical intervention.

 Find out if it’s right for you

While you may be excited about the creation of this new sleep apnea treatment, you should get an evaluation of your health status in relation to your snoring and breathing problems which will determine if DNA or RNA appliance is right for you.