Sleep apnea is a medical problem with an orthodontic solution. Airway-focused orthodontics studies the established link between optimal breathing and long-term health benefits. Certain oral habits and breathing obstructions can force the body to compensate for lower oxygen levels.

Research shows that the body’s continuous struggle for adequate oxygen over an extended period of time can mean an increased risk for numerous health problems. Episodes of complete or partial upper airway obstruction during sleep, known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, occur in more than 18 million American adults, and up to 5 percent of children.

All orthodontic treatment can and should be developed around sustaining the best airway possible, especially in growing children when airway problems can be caught early. Airways can be enlarged and developed. This is essential for patients suffering from sleep apnea and critical in children at risk for developing sleep apnea. They are associated with medical health problems such as learning and behavioral problems, heart disease, and impaired growth.

Signs and symptoms of OSA:
  • Snoring
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Ear/Sinus Infections
  • Restless Sleep
  • Moodiness
  • Short Attention Span
  • Swollen Tonsils
  • Narrow Jaws
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lung Disease
  • Bed Wetting
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Daytime Drowsiness
  • Chronic Allergies
  • Enlarged Adenoids
  • Overlapping Incisors
  • Diminished Mental Capacity (IQ)
  • Facial & Jaw Deformities

Treating Airway Disorders Is Cutting-Edge Orthodontics
Dr. Igel and Dr. Chartrand have an approach to orthodontic treatment that does not just factor in straightening teeth. They incorporate the latest research about the harmful effects of sleep disorders and airway blockages. Our orthodontists also analyze facial structure, nasal passages, sinuses and jaw development as part of our diagnostic evaluation. Dr. Igel and Dr. Chartrand recognize that the most effective orthodontic treatment works in conjunction with treatment for conditions like sleep apnea, snoring and other airway disorders.

For children, our orthodontists can expand the arches with braces and the latest orthodontic appliances available, preferably without extracting permanent teeth which might otherwise constrict the arches and take away oral space. The same is true for retractive devices, such as a cervical traction headgear.

(This type of device pushes the upper jaw back, holding both jaws from moving to the proper forward position, thereby constricting the airway.)

Traditional sleep apnea remedies (such as snoring devices and CPAP machines) can be effective, but they do not address the underlying anatomical problem, can come with side effects and can be difficult to tolerate. Our team works to address the underlying problems that cause the symptoms of sleep apnea, not just the symptoms themselves. When treatment is overly focused on nothing but the symptoms of a disorder, it is like putting a bandage over it, where the hope is that the problem will eventually just go away on its own.

Here at Igel Orthodontics, we do not believe in that sort of treatment, and we will do everything we can to leverage our advanced training and technology to address the actual cause of your problem, not just the symptoms.

Our State-of-the-Art Technology Examines Your Breathing as Part of Our Orthodontic Assessment
Igel Orthodontics starts the process by using our in-office diagnostic scanning technology or I-CAT, to construct a high-quality 3D image of the mouth, neck and throat. This advanced diagnostic equipment reveals any structural issues related to restricted airways or sinus abnormalities. In fact, we often find that the i-CAT’s results more accurately pinpoint why you or your child are not sleeping well, wake up sleepy, have a constant runny nose, frequent ear infections or even have trouble in school or at work.

Using this scan as a base, we are able to create a treatment plan just for you or your child. This plan consists of a series of steps that can help relieve you of the symptoms of sleep apnea and work over time to help your breathing become normal, healthy and sustainable. As you go through your personal treatment plan, we will continue to scan and rescan your airway and ensure you are making the progress that will help you move towards a secure and healthy future.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to learn more about airway orthodontics in Omaha, Nebraska, call our office today at (402) 330-1152 to schedule your free consultation.