Sleep apnea is common condition that can lead to trouble sleeping and cause tiredness throughout the day even after a full night’s rest. Individuals with sleep apnea experience one or more pauses in breathing during their sleep that can last from seconds to minutes. Aside from excessive daytime sleepiness, signs of sleep apnea also include dry mouth, headache, and snoring, just to name a few.
So, you may be wondering how this condition plays a role in dentistry. Some studies suggest that getting teeth extracted for braces can increase one’s risk for developing sleep apnea.Orthodontic treatment is the perfect solution to correcting crowded teeth, protruding teeth, gapped teeth, and jaw problems. For well over 50 years and still today, dentists have debated the treatment of extracting permanent teeth for orthodontic treatment. Some dentists extract permanent teeth because it’s easier to create more space between teeth, while others use alternative methods, such as palate expansion or headgear to correct one’s smile.
Some argue that pre-orthodontic tooth extraction makes the jaw narrower and forces the tongue to lay further back into the mouth and restrict the airway. Also, some believe that extractions can lead to changes in one’s facial appearance and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD is a condition that results in oral issues including chewing problems and jaw pain. However, further research is needed because it is unclear whether these notions are actually the case.
Others counter these arguments and claim that the jaw doesn’t necessarily become narrowed and can even become widened depending on various factors. In addition, some argue that extractions can be beneficial for individuals with lip strain or thin gums.
Studies observing patients who’ve had teeth extracted for orthodontic treatment are inclusive in their findings. These studies often only offer a limited assessment of the patient’s airway to see what’s actually occurring. Two studies of patients found no change in the pharyngeal airway as well as a third study. However, three other studies found a reduction in the airway size of some patients. Researchers believe that the difference in findings could be due to racial differences in the response of the airway to movement of the teeth.
Overall, its unclear whether or not extractions lead to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a complex condition and further research is needed to explain its association with permanent tooth extractions. If you feel that you are excessively sleepy during the day you may want to contact a sleep specialist so that they can conduct a sleep study. If you are in need of any orthodontic treatment or have questions regarding permanent tooth extractions, Dr. Emad is happy to help. Dr. Emad Abdallah is a faculty member at Tufts Craniofacial Pain Center.
Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Van. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.