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Can You Correct Your Bite and Treat Sleep Apnea at the Same Time?

Posted On January 5, 2014
January 05, 2014

Every time you brush your teeth and then look in the mirror for hidden food particles you get depressed. You can’t stand the way you smile because your bite is so far off. You think to yourself, “I wish my parents had the money to fix my teeth and bite when I was younger.” And on top of it all, lack of a good night of sleep is getting you down in the dumps. Plus, you are having a hard time concentrating on any little task throughout the course of your day. What can you do? Could your bite and sleeping issues be related?

Most people do not know or make the connection that an improper bite and the symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and problems sleeping can be connected. Sleep apnea could be present, especially if your bite contributes to the obstruction of your airway at night. When a person stops breathing multiple times during the course of the night when asleep, he or she may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The severity is defined by the number of instances that these pauses occur in each hour of sleep with the most severe being over 30 times and lasting as long as 60 seconds. In fact, if left untreated, OSA can lead to high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, stroke and more. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this disease should not be overlooked or brushed aside.

Usually when sleep apnea and an improper bite are both present, the culprit is a lower jaw or mandible that is too far back. According to Dr. Robert Keim, if an individual has his or her lower jaw moved forward even a few millimeters via an oral appliance or corrective surgery, normal breathing can occur. And yet sometimes, it might be better to correct the faulty jaw position by also moving the upper jaw or maxilla. Jaw repositioning is known as maxillomandibular advancement, and involves moving the upper and lower jaws forward. At the same time, the soft palate, tongue and other attached tissue are tightened. Hence, this corrective jaw surgery helps to open up the sleep apnea sufferer’s airway by putting the jaws back into the proper position.

If jaw surgery is the option that a person chooses to enhance their smile, bite and decrease symptoms of OSA, he or she needs to be aware that this surgery can be extensive. Usually the person needs to be hospitalized overnight, and oftentimes the jaws need to be wired together with restrictions in food and activities for a number of weeks.

If you think you have OSA, find out and also learn what treatment option is best for you. Contact one of our medical concierges today at  to schedule a free consultation.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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