So many questions come to mind when considering orthodontia, like “how much do braces cost?” Our priority is to be here for you, so please don’t hesitate to contact or visit us with your questions. For your convenience, we’ve brainstormed a few ourselves. We hope these help answer some of the questions you might have!

Sleep Apnea & Orthodontia
Sleep is recognized as one of the most important pillars of health, but many patients may not be getting the restorative sleep that they need every night due to sleep apnea. This common sleep disorder can be the result of any number of medical issues, some of which can be treated right here at East Texas Orthodontics. If you or a loved one has been struggling to get enough revitalizing sleep, then take a look at some of these common signs of sleep apnea, why this condition develops, and what orthodontic treatments may be available to you.
Patients that have sleep apnea will generally experience a number of common symptoms such as loud snoring, insomnia, chronic fatigue during the day, headaches, and waking up with shortness of breath. When sleep apnea takes place, the body cannot enter into the REM portion of the sleep cycle, and this will have a negative impact on almost every facet of your health. The three most common forms of sleep apnea include obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and complex sleep apnea (CSA).

Obstructive sleep apnea takes place when there is a physical obstruction such as extra soft tissue that is affecting a patient’s breathing. Central sleep apnea is a condition in which the brain does not send the proper signals to the body to breath while sleeping. Complex sleep apnea is a catch-all term that is given to any sleep apnea that is a mixture of these two conditions. Sleep apnea is relatively rare in children, occurring in 1-4%, typically due to large tonsils or adenoids. Sleep apnea is most often diagnosed in patients over 40. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, the use of sedatives, drinking, and genetics.

Your treatment for this condition will be based on the type of sleep apnea that you are diagnosed with, the severity of your condition, and any other co-existing sleep disorders that you may have. Before undergoing serious treatment, it is suggested that most patients carry out a few lifestyle change such as maintaining a healthy weight and limiting their consumption of sedatives, alcohol, and cigarettes. If this does not reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, then we have a number of other treatments that you may benefit from.

Currently, the most common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or a CPAP machine. These devices can be effective in reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea, but they do come with some disadvantages. The patient may find them to be uncomfortable while their partners feel that they are too noisy during sleep.

Another option is to utilize dental appliances such as custom mouthguards or braces to straighten one’s jaw and tooth alignment. We have had excellent success with these types of treatments, and patients (and their spouses) are excited with the results.

The first step is to schedule a consultation with East Texas Orthodontics so that we can get a better understanding about your sleep apnea. If you would like to explore your treatment options for sleep apnea, please contact East Texas Orthodontics today to setup your own consultation.

Consequences of Thumb, Finger, and Pacifier Habits
Babies like to suck on their thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers because it is a part of their development. After all, this is how they consume milk. These habits can actually wreak havoc on a child’s teeth, which could mean extensive dental or orthodontic work later on down the line. It is important for parents to be smart about how they choose pacifiers and coach their infant. Taking the time early can prevent some serious work later on.
Parents don’t have to avoid the pacifier. Instead, they just need to be smart about how this tool is used. First off, this item should be flexible and made of firm material. The best pacifiers do not have separate pieces for the nipple and mouth guard. Experts say to avoid options that have ventilating holes.
Babies tend to suck on their fingers or a blanket because it is comforting to them or because they are developing teeth. However, if the habit becomes excessive, it may become hard to break and harmful to the teeth. Parents should watch to see how hard the child sucks his/her thumb, how often this happens, and if this continues late into the toddler years. If all three are excessive, it is time to help the child out-grow the habit. Thus, parents should discontinue the pacifier use, use an appliance to stop the sucking, and offer incentives to help.
Children often continue to suck on their thumbs, fingers, and other items when they feel anxious or insecure. Positive reinforcement increases a child’s self-esteem and is a more nurturing way to curb sucking behavior. Parents should think about what causes their child to feel nervous and work on the root issue rather than becoming frustrated at the child when he or she starts sucking a thumb. Visual charts and vigilant positive reinforcement help children break this habit in a happy and healthy manner.

As infants become toddlers, they are more capable of conversations. Thus, parents and dentists alike can explain the effects of excessive sucking. Explaining how this can make the teeth slanted or affect the mouth’s bite can help the child work on this habit. Proper communication empowers youth so that they are in charge of their health.

Sucking a thumb or pacifier is normal for infants. However, parents need to keep an eye on this so that it does not become excessive and harmful. After all, sucking is a normal reflex early in life. The American Dental Association says that most kids stop excessive sucking by the age of four. Supportive parents use positive reinforcement to retrain children and protect their teeth and bite. This prevents later dental work and issues.

More Questions

Yes! You are our priority. We understand you don’t always have the opportunity to take time off work to take your kids to an appointment, so we are open two Saturdays a month to be here for you.