Look Better, Sleep Better

Orthodontics is For More Than Just Looks—It Can Help You Sleep Better

Did you know holistic orthodontics brings better sleep? People of all ages can get a little fussy when they haven’t had enough quality sleep—and this can be especially true when it happens all the time. Chronic lack of sleep/poor sleep/lack of oxygen can lead to numerous issues, including diminished cognitive function, daytime fatigue, weight gain, lack of focus, irritability, reduced function of all body systems, and ultimately early death.

Let me share a story about a patient—I will call her Jane. Growing up, Jane’s parents could not afford great dental care. This was something she vowed to change for her family. She was a busy working mom with three kids. We had successfully treated Jane’s kids, and Jane decided it would finally be her turn to receive orthodontic treatment. She had always wanted straighter teeth, and she had a “snaggletooth,” as she called it, that really bothered her. Jane had subconsciously taught herself to smile in such a way as to try and hide that tooth with her lip.

When Jane came in for her treatment, she admitted that she always felt tired and run down. She confided in us that she had trouble sleeping at night and never felt fully rested when she woke up in the morning. She would fall asleep and suddenly wake herself up from her own snoring. She felt so embarrassed. To make matters worse, she would also clench her jaw tightly and grind her teeth. Her jaw would be really sore in the morning like she had been in some kind of nighttime boxing match.

Recently, Jane spent a bunch of money to purchase a new mattress, but her expensive sleep number wasn’t working the way she had envisioned. Jane supposed it was simply because of her job and her kids, and that this is just how life is supposed to feel. 

All of that changed halfway through her orthodontic treatment. Jane looked healthy and happy. She was a different person and all her family, friends, and co-workers noticed. The dark circles under her eyes were gone, her skin was radiant, and she was sharp and full of 10 times as much energy as she had before. She told us her husband had mentioned that she didn't snore anymore. She couldn't believe that her crowded teeth had been the culprit of her declining health. Jane was sleeping and breathing better than she had ever before. 

When most people think of orthodontics, they think of beautiful smiles. What many don't know is that orthodontists go through extensive training on the growth and development of the jawbones and skull. The position of your jawbones relative to your skull defines your airway. Jawbones that are too small or that do not develop in the correct position result in deficient airways that can negatively affect your breathing.

Human skulls have been studied over time, and it has been noted that jawbones, particularly in developed countries, are not developing as large as they did in our ancestors. There are many hypotheses of why this may be—diet being one of the most speculated. As a result, orthodontics is needed more in growth and development, not only to create space for permanent teeth to erupt into, but ultimately so that adequate airways are created, and sleep and breathing disorders are minimized.

Orthodontics can be used alone or in conjunction with other modalities to correct breathing/sleep disorders, and can really change not only the appearance of your smile but also your systemic health. Patients who have had chronic sleeping issues, including sleep apnea, are often surprised to discover that they are able to sleep so much better because of their orthodontic treatment. They feel incredibly healthier and more energized.

Orthodontics doesn’t just improve your smile and confidence, it literally lights up your whole way of being.

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