Origins of Sleep Apnea and the Rationale for a Cure
Sleep apnea occurs because our airway is too narrow and tends to collapse at night. There are many factors that contribute to this risk. Our airway is more likely to collapse if we are overweight: fat on the throat and tongue weigh the tissues down. A lack of muscle tone in the throat also means there’s less support for the throat when we sleep.
Adaptations for speech and upright posture also contribute to a narrower airway. Smaller jaws make it easier for us to control the sounds we produce, but they lead to a narrower airway. A descended larynx gives a resonance chamber in the upper throat, but it moves the supporting hyoid bone further down so there’s a long section where the airway is supported only by the jaw. And upright posture requires a basically 90° turn in our airway, which makes it more easily blocked.
All of these inherent risks for airway collapse become even worse because most of our jaws don’t develop to the extent that they should. When we are children, airborne allergens irritate the adenoids, structures like your tonsils at the back of your nasal airway. Swollen adenoids block the nose and lead to mouth breathing. Combine this with bottle feeding and the consumption of a soft diet of refined food, and most people don’t develop their jaw to its full genetic potential.
How do you know if your jaw isn’t fully developed? Crowded teeth and needing your wisdom teeth extracted are two clear signs your jaw hasn’t fully developed.
How the DNA Appliance Can Cure Sleep Apnea
The natural solution to the problems of snoring and sleep apnea is just to expand the airway. And that’s what the DNA Appliance does. The DNA Appliance stimulates the body’s natural growth mechanisms to expand the airway.
The DNA Appliance stimulates your genes by applying constant force to the teeth. This is similar to the mechanism used by braces and other orthodontics, but there are two differences. First, the DNA Appliance applies force not just to move your teeth, but also to expand your jaw. Second, it doesn’t rely on bracket bonded to your teeth that you have on all day. You just wear the DNA Appliance in the evening and overnight.
Is the DNA Appliance Right for You?
The DNA Appliance isn’t the right treatment solution for everyone. The advantage of the DNA Appliance is that it can be a cure: you might not need any additional sleep apnea treatment for the rest of your life.
But not everyone gets a full cure with treatment. And the DNA Appliance is relatively expensive compared to more traditional oral appliance therapy. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is a lifelong treatment that many people find difficult or uncomfortable to use. The majority of CPAP users don’t stick to the treatment and end up with untreated sleep apnea.
You might also consider surgery for your snoring or sleep apnea. Airway surgery comes with typical surgical risks: missed work, downtime, painful recovery, and serious complications. Surgical risks are higher for people with sleep apnea due to cardiovascular conditions. Surgery is also usually more expensive than treatment with the DNA Appliance, and the success rate is lower.
During your consultation, we’ll talk about these treatment options and help you find the one that’s best for you. To schedule a consultation with a Detroit sleep dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry, please call (248) 656-2020 today.