The role of orthodontics in treating sleep disorders


One of the health problems that many people experience when they are not even aware of it happens during sleep – sleep apnoea. Patients who suffer from this disorder often experience serious consequences to their overall health. Sleep apnoea, of which there is more than one type, is basically when a person’s pattern of breathing is interrupted or disturbed and when this happens, the brain alerts the body to this danger and the person wakes up.

As a result of this disorder, a person is unable to get a night of good quality sleep and wakes up and starts the day already exhausted. Over time this can take a toll on their physical body that can lead to all sorts of life-reducing medical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, etc.) According to the British Snoring And Sleep Apnoea Association (BSSAA), about four per cent of men and two per cent of women in the UK are said to suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)  which is among the most common types of this disorder.

Depending on the type of sleep apnoea, braces in Edinburgh can be a useful tool with which to improve air flow. It has been found that by addressing certain mouth structure issues, including jaw alignment and teeth spacing, with suitable orthodontic instruments, breathing passages can be opened up to improve air flow. Another dental appliance that may be recommended is a custom created mouth guard that the patient wears during the night.

Tell-tale signs of sleep apnoea to look out for

  • Snoring

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms that may indicate that one suffers from sleep apnoea. Patients should bear in mind, though, that not all instances of snoring are linked to sleep apnoea, which is why seeking a professional dental consultation is important to find out the exact cause.

  • Irritability

Without a good night’s rest, one may be more prone to higher and more frequent levels of irritability.

  • Depression

In experiencing physical and mental exhaustion, it can be incredibly challenging to remain positive in one’s outlook.

  • Headaches

These may be experienced upon waking first thing in the morning.

In many instances the disorder is not noticed by the patient, but by their sleeping partner.

Plus points of using dental devices in the treatment of sleep apnoea

Comfort and tolerability are two of the major benefits of using orthodontic devices to treat sleep apnoea (if applicable) compared to other types of treatments offered. Some side effects experienced with non-dental appliances include a dry nose.

Sleep apnea machine

Travel is made easier, as there is no heavy complicated equipment to carry around. As dental devices are worn in the mouth, this results in another benefit for patients – there is less likelihood of the device unhooking or becoming entangled, which can be a concern for those who toss and turn in during sleep.

Proper diagnosis from a professional medical practitioner is critical in order for a patient to be effectively treated. This is because there are many different types of sleep apnoea brought on by various factors. Sleep apnoea is one disorder where there is no one-size-fits-all policy

Patients interested in learning more about how orthodontic devices are used in the treatment of sleep apnoea are encouraged to make an appointment at their nearest dental clinic.

Scroll to Top