There is mounting evidence that orthodontic expanders can effectively treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), particularly in children. Here’s the connection between the orthodontic treatment and OSA, including the mechanisms by which it alleviates symptoms, the benefits of treatment, and the limitations and potential risks.
What is an expander?
An expander is a device designed to widen the upper jaw to correct dental issues such as crowding, bite problems, or breathing difficulties. The device applies gentle pressure to the palate to widen it slowly. In addition to improving dental function and aesthetics, research suggests expanders can help improve breathing and alleviate symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. They are usually custom fitted to each patient and adjusted at night to alleviate discomfort.
How does an expander affect obstructive sleep apnea?
OSA occurs when the upper airway narrows or collapses during sleep, making breathing difficult. By widening the airway, expanders can decrease the effects of sleep apnea. Research has shown that it can be an effective treatment option for OSA, particularly in adolescents and mild to moderate cases.
What are the benefits of using an expander for OSA?
The main benefits of using an expander for OSA include improved breathing during sleep, reduced snoring, improved sleep quality, and other common symptoms of OSA. In addition, patients may experience improvements in their overall health and well-being, as untreated OSA has been linked to a range of health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
What are the potential risks and side effects?
While expanders are generally considered safe and effective, there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of. Common side effects include jaw pain, tooth discomfort, and dry mouth. These effects are milder in children and adolescents because their pallets are less developed. In rare cases, more severe side effects such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or changes to bite alignment may occur.Not getting the sleep you need? Might be time for a sleep study! Get in touch now! https://advancedhomecareonline.com/sleep-studies/