Does Orthodontic Treatment Help Sleep Apnea?

man and woman laying in bed while man stores and woman holds a pillow over her ears

Understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Can you guess which sleeping disorder 22 million Americans struggle with every year? You thought correct; it's obstructive sleep apnea!

Sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, is characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. Each delay can last for several seconds and may occur 5 to 30 times (or more) an hour! Typically, normal breathing starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The main symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Other symptoms include:

  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Dry mouth when waking up
  • Sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Problems with memory or concentration

What Issues Cause Sleep Apnea?

Airway obstructions can disrupt sleep and lead to a variety of health issues. Conditions, such as those listed below, can interfere with proper breathing:

  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Deviated septum
  • Enlarged adenoid
  • Defective nasal valves
  • Swollen turbinates

Additionally, orthodontic issues can specifically cause or contribute to sleep apnea. These include:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • A narrow palate
  • Small jaw

How Can Orthodontics Help Sleep Apnea?

An airway orthodontics evaluation can uncover various oral health concerns, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and upper airway restrictions. This treatment focuses on improving the alignment of the teeth and jaws to improve airflow.

Rather than only treating OSA symptoms, airway orthodontics addresses the structural issue causing the airway restriction. Our team at Holistic Orthodontics uses high-tech digital scans to get a detailed view of your mouth area. From here, we create your custom orthodontic appliances, monitor your progress, and adjust your devices throughout your treatment.

Your individualized airway orthodontic treatment plan may include:

Palate Expanders

By widening the roof of the mouth (palate), these devices can improve airflow and reduce or eliminate snoring and sleep apnea. Additionally, palate expanders can stretch the upper jaw to increase airflow to the nasal passages.

Traditional Braces

Braces are an orthodontic appliance that can improve the alignment of the teeth and jaws. They work by applying pressure, which will cause them to move into the desired position over time. Traditionally, braces are made of metal or ceramic.

Transparent Aligners

Transparent aligners, such as Invisalign, can gradually correct minor irregularities in your alignment and bite. Invisalign offers custom-fitted trays for your teeth and are replaced every few weeks, much like when traditional braces are tightened. You will have more room for each set of aligners as you move your teeth throughout your treatment plan.

Pitts 21 System

In addition to traditional braces and aligners, the Pitts 21 System can help shift bites and teeth to treat OSA. At Holistic Orthodontics, we use the Pitts 21 System to employ a one-of-a-kind combination of Damon brackets and wires that work in tandem to effectively transition teeth.

This orthodontic system is metal-free and instead employs a unique wire-threading technique that reduces friction and eliminates the need for elastic bands.


The MyoBrace is an orthodontic appliance that is worn overnight. It helps to train the muscle of the tongue and jaws to improve alignment. Custom-made and highly comfortable to wear, the MyoBrace System can help improve facial development, muscle function, and, most importantly: breathing!

Get the Zzzs You Deserve With the Help of Holistic Orthodontics

The significance of identifying and treating obstructive sleep apnea cannot be overstated; it affects every system of your body.

At Holistic Orthodontics, we understand the impact OSA can have on your life! We are prepared to collaborate closely with local sleep centers to establish an accurate diagnosis and develop a viable treatment plan.

To learn more about how our warm and friendly staff team can help your OSA with orthodontic services, contact us online or call us at (818) 626-3632 today.