Sleep Apnea


Understanding Sleep Apnea: A Guide from Smile Innovations Hawaii

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder characterized by intermittent cessation of breathing. These periods without breath degrade sleep quality and disrupt the body’s oxygen supply, potentially leading to significant health issues. Sleep apnea is generally presented in three key forms:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): As the most prevalent category of sleep apnea, OSA results from excessive relaxation of the throat muscles during sleep. This relaxation obstructs the airway, impeding normal breathing.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea: The central form of sleep apnea, which is less common, arises when the brain doesn’t instruct the respiratory muscles to breathe, causing short-term breathlessness.
  3. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: Also described as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, this disorder manifests when an individual concurrently suffers from obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Although often recognized by robust, loud snoring, it’s important to note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Risk factors for sleep apnea include obesity, excessive alcohol intake, drug use contributing to airway blockage. Genetics can also play a role – those with a family history of sleep apnea may be more susceptible to the condition. As declared by the Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea is a widespread sleep disorder affecting both genders and all age groups in the United States.

Sleep Apnea for Children

Our dental team at Smile Innovations Hawaii specializes in addressing sleep apnea in children, to prevent ongoing respiratory and sleeping issues. We meticulously observe for significant symptoms that could indicate a deeper root problem. These may consist of:

Teeth grinding
Nightly visits to the bathroom
Large tonsils
Mouth breathing

Recognizing Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Kids
Uncovering these symptoms is key to your child’s general health and well-being. Unfortunately, many symptoms remain overlooked due to a high prevalence of undiagnosed sleep apnea among children. Over time, untreated sleep apnea can impact a child’s body considerably, underscoring the urgency for prompt treatment. At Smile Innovations Hawaii, our team is dedicated to helping kids overcome sleep apnea.

Available Treatments for Kids
There are several treatment options available for your child’s sleep disorder. Although there isn’t a comprehensive solution for sleep apnea, our team at Smile Innovations Hawaii takes steps to enhance the entire jaw structure, thereby improving breathing. The specific treatment applied will be determined by your child’s individual symptoms.

Custom Dental Appliances
Myofunctional Therapy
Tongue Tie Procedures

Custom Dental Appliances for Treatment
For more severe cases of sleep-related breathing disorders in children, our dental team may suggest using custom dental appliances. These devices assist in expanding your child’s palate, providing enhanced airspace. The Rapid Maxillary Expansion (RME) technique entails use of a custom-made expander fitted over the top back teeth, intending to permanently amend a child’s oral anatomy, especially those with narrow or highly arched hard palates.

The Role of Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional therapy is a regimen designed to rectify inappropriate tongue and facial muscle functions. This technique improves the strength of the tongue and facial muscles by training children to use those muscles in an optimal position. These exercises aim to improve speaking, eating or breathing issues. Research suggests this method effectively treats sleep-order breathing problems.

Treatment for Tongue Ties
Releasing a child’s tongue tie might be necessary for resolving their sleep disorder. In cases where a child’s tongue is not correctly positioned within the mouth, a frenectomy might be recommended. This opens up the airway, reduces sleep disturbances, and allows for correct tongue posture.

Sleep Apnea for Adults


Did you know if you are over 40 years old, you have a 40% chance of snoring frequently? This seemingly harmless nuisance might be an indication of a more critical condition – Sleep Apnea. However, the issue remains that most of these cases are undiagnosed, leading to increasing health risks. In fact, within 15 years of an Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) diagnosis, the risk of heart attack escalates by 30%. Moreover, an alarming 98% of OSA patients carry abnormal soft tissue, which disrupts the airway anatomy.

Spotting the symptoms is crucial in addressing sleep apnea. The lack of quality sleep, unbeknownst to you, may be causing severe health complications and potentially shortening your life. At Smile Innovations Hawaii, we find hope in airway dentistry – a procedure aiming to improve the quality of your sleep and thereby, your overall health and lifespan. Learn more about our advanced treatment solutions for adults.

Caption: Frustrated woman blocking out the sound of a man snoring with a pillow.

Oral Appliance Therapy Options

While there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for sleep apnea, our Airway Dentistry focuses on revising the structure of your upper and lower jaws for better respiration. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, we find the most effective treatment for you. Our comprehensive treatment options include:

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices
  • Invisalign® Treatment
  • CPAP Devices

Overview of Mandibular Advancement Devices

Known as a ‘lifetime appliance’, Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) are non-invasive, earning a high rate of patient compliance. MADs work by advancing the jaw and tongue, minimizing obstructions in the throat. Thus, improving, and potentially eliminating, your snoring.

Benefits of Invisalign®

If your sleep apnea stems from orthodontic issues, we suggest Invisalign® treatment. Sleep apnea often occurs with patients who have a narrow bite or overly crowded teeth, restricting the necessary space for your tongue, leading to airway obstruction during sleep. Understand our Invisalign® treatment process by clicking the link below.

Caption: Woman inserting Invisalign® aligners into her mouth.

How can CPAP help?

For patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea, the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is advisable. Wearing a mask while sleeping keeps your upper airway passage open, thus preventing apneas and snoring.

Choosing Non-CPAP Sleep Apnea Treatment

At Smile Innovations Hawaii, we understand that a CPAP machine may disturb your sleep cycle more than alleviate it. Therefore, we offer alternatives such as Mandibular Advancement Devices, using a custom mouthguard to open your airway by adjusting your tongue or/and lower jaw.

If you’re grappling with sleep apnea or suspect you might be, reach out to our compassionate team at Smile Innovations Hawaii. We’re committed to providing personalized care and professional advice tailored to your specific needs. Contact us via phone or email or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you reclaim your restful nights and healthful days.