Using orthodontic methods to treat Sleep Apnea at Wu Orthodontics

If you’re constantly feeling tired throughout the day and your bed partner complains about your snoring, you may have sleep apnea. A disrupted night’s sleep can affect the mood and concentration of both you and your family, and may damage your health in the long-term. If you or a member of your family suffers from excessive snoring or sleep apnea, it may surprise you to learn that specialist orthodontic treatment can help.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea, also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, is a disorder caused by the muscles at the back of the throat relaxing too much, partially closing off the airway. This can occur as many as 30 times per hour during sleep, and results in snorting or snoring as your body tries to regain its oxygen levels. Your brain is also alerted to this lack of oxygen, which temporarily wakes you up, thus creating a cycle of poor quality sleep and excessive tiredness throughout the day.

What is Sleep Apnea?

How would I know if I or a

family member has Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea can present itself in a variety of ways, but the most common signs include:

  • Loud and excessive snoring at night
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Frequent night waking, feeling short of breath
  • Snorting or choking sounds throughout the night
  • Extreme daytime sleepiness
  • Feeling constantly drowsy throughout the day
  • Morning headaches

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, as no blood tests are available to confirm the disorder, and most doctors cannot detect it during routine assessments.

How would I know if I or a

How Wu Orthodontics

can help treat Sleep Apnea

There are many lifestyle changes that can help those who suffer from sleep apnea - these include exercise, weight loss and limiting alcohol intake. However, in more serious cases, the condition can be treated with the help of specialist orthodontic methods.

Dr. Wu is well versed in the field of treating sleep apnea, and, depending on the outcome of your initial assessment, may recommend one of the following options to help treat the disorder:

  • Rapid Palatal Expander - this device is generally used on patients who have very narrow upper jaws and, as a result, struggle breathing through their nose. The appliance expands the jaw and the floor of the nose, creating more nasal volume. This method is particularly effective in treating sleep apnea for children.
  • Distraction Osteogenesis For Maxillary Expansion (DOME) - created at Stanford University, DOME is used to expand the upper jaw in adults. The appliance improves nasal breathing by providing space for the tongue and transforming a narrow, high-arched palate into a dome-shape palate.
  • Orthognathic Surgery - also known as Maxillomandibular Advancement, this surgical orthodontic treatment is recommended for patients with severe sleep apnea. This option is usually combined with braces treatment and has been proven to be the most effective surgical treatment for those suffering with sleep apnea.

For severe cases, we recommend orthognathic surgery in conjunction with braces, which has been proven to be the most effective surgical treatment for sleep apnea.

How Wu Orthodontics

Sleep easy with Wu Orthodontics

To ascertain what treatment is best to treat your (or a family member’s) sleep apnea, we recommend booking a full in-practice consultation with our Specialist Orthodontist, Dr. Wu. He will undertake a full assessment to understand your needs and ensure a restful night’s sleep is just around the corner.

Book your consultation today

Sleep easy with Wu Orthodontics

Book your consultation today

We offer two consultation options for patients - a full orthodontic assessment in our Palo Alto practice or a complimentary virtual assessment.


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