Sleep-disordered breathing—and its more severe form, sleep apnea—are conditions that occur when the upper airway becomes blocked while you are asleep. Patients with this condition usually report that they feel drowsy during the day or have a difficult time concentrating. While some severe cases require a dramatic surgical approach, many patients can address this issue with small changes in their lifestyle or the use of an oral appliance. At Nalchajian Orthodontics, our team of experts is specially trained to treat this condition through orthodontic care. Drs. Greg and Nicole Nalchajian treat patients of all ages with this condition at their offices in Fresno, CA, and Clovis, CA.
Patients of all ages suffer from sleep-disordered breathing, from younger children to adult patients. Many people are surprised to learn that this condition can begin at such an early age. As children develop and grow, there are a number of sources which can cause the obstruction, such as large tonsils or adenoids, dental crowding. An abnormally narrow palate, allergies, and other common respiratory ailments. Adults can develop this issue as they age, or may have had the issue for years but have been unaware of the problem. The most obvious symptom is loud snoring and gasping during sleep.
It is extremely important to seek treatment for sleep-disordered breathing as soon as you learn that you have the condition. This condition can sometimes have severe implications for the growing patient, including attention deficits, difficulty concentrating, sleepiness, as well as an increase in bedwetting, stunting of growth, and obesity.This will also ensure that you address the problem before it progresses to a more serious, like sleep apnea. Additionally, there are more severe medical problems associated with these conditions, including high blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, and even strokes.
There are many possible treatments for sleep-disordered breathing, and the severity of the condition guides the sleep specialist in management planning. Mild conditions may be treated with lifestyle changes, such as weight loss. In some instances, orthodontic treatment may be an effective alternative.
At the Nalchajian Orthodontics, our team is highly trained and experienced in the orthodontic treatment of sleep-disordered breathing for children. Most patients develop conditions such as this because of improper or disproportionate facial growth and development. Advances in imaging technology allow us to identify these issues, monitor facial growth during critical periods of development, and to design orthodontic approaches which help improve breathing. In some cases, we may refer your child to an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat specialist, to evaluate whether it is appropriate to remove tonsils and adenoids.
For adults, we work with medical specialists who are experts in sleep apnea diagnosis. A sleep study will confirm the diagnosis, and in some cases, an oral appliance can be used to help open the airway while sleeping. In more severe cases, orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign® may be used along with jaw surgery to move the jaws forward to re-open the airway.
During your initial consultation, we perform a comprehensive examination, including imaging of the airway and its supporting structures. Once diagnosed, Drs. Greg and Nicole Nalchajian work with your dentist, oral surgeon, or sleep specialist to develop the optimal treatment plan. We look forward to providing every patient with the care they need to live a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle.