How Orthodontics Can Be Used To Treat Two Non-Dental Problems

28 June 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

Most people associate orthodontists primarily with the installation of dental braces. But while this may be the most common application of orthodontics, it certainly isn't the only one. If you would like to learn more about the versatility of orthodontic treatments, read on. This article will teach you how orthodontics can treat two non-dental issues.  

Speech Disorders

Speech disorders often develop as the result of dental malocclusion. That's the ten dollar word for upper and lower teeth that aren't able to fit together correctly, most often due to excessively crooked teeth. By throwing off the alignment of the jaw, malocclusions make it harder to pronounce some sounds. Letters such as d, n and t often present especial difficulty.

These letters pose a greater challenge because they require that the tongue be oriented in a very precise manner. When severe enough, dental malocclusions can make such placement virtually impossible. This problem can often be reduced, or even eliminated, through orthodontics. Straightening misaligned teeth will increase the tongue's range of motion, thus allowing the pronunciation of more difficult consonants.

The key here is to identify and begin treating such malocclusions as soon as possible. That's because the speech disorders that develop because of malocclusion become habitual with time, thus making their treatment much more difficult. To help promote proper speech development, it is recommended that children should begin making visits to an orthodontists around the age of seven.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a variety of sleeping disorder often confused for simple snoring. Unlike snoring, however, sleep apnea will cause you to wake up repeatedly throughout the night, though you may not even be aware of it happening. This often leads to the experience of groggy, sleepy states during the day.

Airway problems are at the root of sleep apnea. The tissue around an especially small airway often collapses or closes off during sleep. This causes the sleeper to wake, resume normal breathing, and then fall back asleep, only for the same pattern to recur. Luckily, the size of the breathing passage can be increased through the use of a special orthodontic devices.

Perhaps the most commonly utilized of these devices goes by the name of a mandibular repositioning device. Because that name is itself something of a mouthful, this type of devices is often referred to by the acronym MRD. An MRD is placed inside of the mouth when you go to sleep. It works by gently pushing your jaw into a more forward position, thus indirectly increasing the diameter of your breathing passage.  

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