Dental ALF reduces Obstructive Sleep Apnea
A dental ALF reduces obstructive sleep apnea! WHAT? HOW?
OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that occurs during sleep, wherein a person’s breathing decreases to the point of preventing air flow to the lungs. There are varying degrees of obstructive sleep apnea, and varying causes. One such cause is a restriction of air flow through the nose, in a non-mouth breathing person.
NASAL VALVE INSUFFICIENCY
The collapse of the internal nasal valves during inhalation reduces air flow through the nose, and increases the amount of pressure needed by the chest to overcome that limited inspiration. Nasal valve insufficiency looks like this:
Many ENTs will treat internal nasal valve insufficiency using a surgical procedure that stiffens the inside of the nose.
ROLE OF THE TONGUE?
However, we have found that proper nasal breathing is possible even in people who have the condition of internal nasal valve insufficiency, when the tongue is supporting the roof of the mouth. That position — tongue to roof of mouth — is difficult to maintain for many people, even in whom it is possible. Add to that the high number of people with ankyloglossia (tongue tie) and now we have a population who do not have good nasal breathing support.
ALF TO THE RESCUE!
An ALF (alternative lightwire functional) appliance is a super thin, flexible wire custom-bent to fit the roof of the mouth and upper teeth. Once activated, there is a very gentle pressure across the palate that comes from the wire. This pressure is just enough to support the floor of the nose, decrease the turbulence of nasal air flow, and prevent collapse of the internal nasal valves. And in patients whose tongue tissues will allow it, there is an improved relationship between the posterior tongue and soft palate, which supports the entire airway.
In this same case, the patient had a diagnosis of moderate sleep apnea, using the definition that includes respiratory disturbances during sleep from 15-30 times per hour.
After insertion of the ALF dental appliance, and no other treatments, the patient was retested. See the amazing results below!