MARPE: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment

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    MARPE for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment

    Some people are born with a narrow maxilla. This physical characteristic can lead to problems like crowded teeth, nasal obstruction, and hindered facial development – all contributors to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious health condition. Through a non-surgical technique known as miniscrew-assisted rapid palatal expansion (MARPE), Dr. Rosemary Lelich and her team can address sleep apnea for adults to permanently improve airway obstruction by expanding the upper jaw.

    MARPE: An Innovative Orthodontic Approach

    Palate expanders are a proven technique in children and are used to widen the airway, allow more room for crowded teeth, and simplify orthodontic treatment. There was a time when using palate expanders was not a viable solution for adults in correcting sleep apnea because the palate suture fuses together around age 15. That is no longer the case.

    MARPE makes it possible for the expander to be placed directly into the palatal bone and anchored in place. Here’s how it works:

    • The implants effectively split the suture open for adults.
    • The lower jaw slowly moves forward.
    • This jaw movement prevents the collapse of the tongue and soft tissue.
    • The airway stays open and allows for easier breathing.

    Through MARPE, sleep apnea treatment for adults can progress without surgery or with only minimal surgery. The results of the MARPE treatment deliver a permanent skeletal change for long-term stability.

    How Does MARPE Work?

    By expanding the maxillary bone on the roof of the mouth, the volume of the nasal and oral cavities is expanded. By decreasing nasal resistance and creating more room for the tongue to sit forward in the mouth, the airway is increased. Here is how MARPE works:

    • A maxillary expander is custom-made for your mouth.
    • Mini-screws on the expander are anchored to the palate.
    • The procedure takes about 30 minutes to complete under local anesthesia.
    • After installation, the patient activates the expander every day for four to six weeks by turning a screw.
    • The expander stays in place until the new bone forms at the suture, usually for four to six months.

    There will be some tenderness after the procedure and with each turn of the expander, but the procedure is designed to gently and consistently widen the palate. You will notice a gap begin to form between the front teeth – this is a good thing and it means the MARPE is working correctly. You should already feel like you are starting to breathe easier through your nose too. Eventually, orthodontic treatment will close the gap and help you achieve a stable bite.

    Is MARPE Right for You?

    People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea live with this problem every day. They must deal with a CPAP machine to improve their breathing at night or may be undiagnosed but know they’re exhausted every day and want to finally get quality rest.

    Getting the expander then undergoing orthodontic treatment may sound like quite an undertaking, but it’s a worthwhile one with permanent results. Twelve to 24 months of orthodontic treatment for a lifetime of quality sleep and no side effects from obstructive sleep apnea? That’s priceless.

    Cost Factors of MARPE

    Palatal expanders have a base price but this can vary depending on the material used and specific features your customized appliance needs. Cost factors are affected by location and the experience of the orthodontist. Because this type of treatment is medically necessary for those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, it is more likely to be covered by insurance, but this will depend on your plan and whether your orthodontist’s office accepts your insurance. A variety of payment plan options and arrangements are always available to make your orthodontic treatment possible.

    Learn More About MARPE from Family Orthodontics in St. Louis Park

    MARPE pushes the boundaries of what orthodontic treatment can do for smiles and oral health – and for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Rosemary Lelich and her team at Family Orthodontics to learn more about this innovative orthodontic approach and whether it’s right for you. We treat residents from the St. Louis Park area of Minnesota, including Edina, Minneapolis, Minnetonka,  and Hopkins.

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