You’ve most likely heard of sleep apnea, but do you really know what it is or how the disorder impacts you or your child? From behavioral problems to stunts in growth, your sleep can make or break your day-to-day activities. One of the reasons Dr. Vic is so passionate about sleep is because of the importance sleep has over your health—Dr. Vic can help improve sleep via intraoral appliances that expand the palate and open the airway.

First, what exactly IS sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is when breathing stops and then restarts during sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and complex. Obstructive is the most common form and happens when the muscles in the throat relax during sleep. Central sleep apnea happens when there are incorrect signals sent to the body from the brain, and complex is a combination of the obstructive and central. All are difficult to live with, and all can impact your well-being.

Why does this even matter? Doesn’t sleep apnea just mean you snore a lot? NO! Sleep apnea impacts everything from your physical health to your mental well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are expected complications such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, etc. Physically, sleep apnea can lead to liver problems, metabolic issues, diabetes, and high blood pressure or heart problems. Behaviorally, sleep apnea can make one short-tempered, angry, anxious, and depressed.

Sleep apnea in children can cause intense behavioral issues. Dr. Vic has seen many children with behavioral issues who actually have trouble sleeping, and once their palate is expanded those behavioral challenges change! Even adults struggle without sleep, and a child’s growing body and brain really rely on those eight hours of rest to recoup, recharge, and reset.

What signs should you look out for? Of course, any behavioral changes can be a big implication that your child is struggling to sleep. There is also snoring as was mentioned, but another prominent indicator is that the patient stops breathing at night. Of course, you might be wondering, well how do I know any of this unless I stay up all night watching my child sleep? This is where FTFO steps in.

If you come in for sleep-related issues, we’ll begin by giving you a small device that goes on the finger and monitors breathing during the night. This will go on for a few days, and the device will give a report to Dr. Vic. Dr. Vic will then work with a sleep specialist to discuss the next proper steps.

What could those next steps be, and how come an orthodontist is doing this? Well, your teeth and jaw can impact the size of your airway and whether or not you breathe through your mouth. By expanding the palate, Dr. Vic makes way for air to pass through the airway more easily. Simply by moving the teeth, we can treat sleep issues and make better breathing. It seems like an odd fix, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Tooth placement can change your jaw, cause mouth breathing, and disturb the airway.

So, if you or a family member is struggling to sleep, give our office a call at 631.727.2655 and schedule a free consultation. We would love to help you FLOURISH.