The Role of Orthodontics in Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Are you tired during the day with no explanation? Do you snore loudly, or wake up breathless in the middle of the night? If you suffer from these symptoms, you may be one of more than forty million Americans affected by sleep apnea. The good news – Masri Orthodontics can help!

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder which causes a person to stop breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time while they are sleeping. One occurrence is termed an apneic event and a person suffering from OSA can experience up to 800 a night, waking a person from a deep sleep and taking him or her into a light sleep – disrupting satisfactory sleep patterns. The repeated transition from deep sleep to light sleep – no matter how brief the occurrence – does not allow a person to get a good night’s sleep.

FACT: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that drowsy driving is responsible for, at the very least, 100,000 car accidents, 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths per year.


Of the two types of sleep apnea, Obstructive Apnea and Central Apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common. Nine out of 10 people with sleep apnea have this type of apnea. The cause of OSA is a blockage in the windpipe (or trachea), which brings air into the body. This may be caused by the tongue, tonsils or uvula. Two common reasons the airway might also be blocked are large amounts of fatty tissue in the throat or by relaxed throat muscles. In most cases, this condition causes a decrease in air intake and ultimately, oxygen supply to your entire body, impacting brain function.


The signs and symptoms of OSA include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping or choking during the night, non-refreshed sleep, fragmented sleep, clouded memory, irritability, personality changes, decreased sex drive, impotence, and morning headaches. Sleep apnea is a chronic health problem and is also a progressive condition which means it can potentially worsen over time.

  • Mild OSA: 5-15 events per hour
  • Moderate OSA: 16-30 events per hour
  • Severe OSA: 31 or more events per hour

Who is affected by OSA?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can affect all ages, genders and races. OSA can occur in newborns, young children and adults – more than 40 million Americans alone are afflicted with this disorder. Males are more prone to have sleep apnea from the time they reach puberty, as their testosterone increases muscle bulk in all muscles, especially in the upper airway. Women have an increase after menopause, when they have lost the protective hormones of estrogen and progesterone.

FACT: People that have an untreated case of sleep apnea face a risk of stroke that is four times as likely as those who are not afflicted. Untreated sleep apnea sufferers are also three times as likely to have heart disease.

Masri Orthodontics can help!!

FACT: In September 1995 the American Sleep Disorder Association (ASDA) endorsed oral appliance therapy as the third currently acceptable treatment modality for snoring and sleep apnea. The two most common solutions include continuous positive air pressure or the removal of either the excess palatal tissue or the uvula.

A dentist or orthodontist is the only healthcare professional that is able to design, construct, fit and maintain an oral sleep appliance

The Diagnosis

Although sleep apnea is a medical disorder that can only be diagnosed by a sleep specialist, there is no harm in having an oral examination to evaluate the airway, tonsils, tongue and uvula. A thorough evaluation, done by a dentist or orthodontist, can determine what is causing the airway to be blocked and can attempt to solve the obstruction.

What can Masri Orthodontics do to help?

Masri Orthodontics can treat your Sleep Apnea case with orthodontics. The leading orthodontist in Livonia providing braces, Invisalign, hidden braces and appliances to treat many joint and sleep disorders. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation to get your diagnosis for sleep apnea. Livonia’s premier provider of Invisalign can treat each unique case with a variety of low cost, affordable options. Call today!