Dr. Christensen has been treating Sleep Disorder Breathing since becoming an orthodontist in 1999. For children, being aware of their growth and development and being trained in bio-progressive orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, he has been able to treat breathing disorders through growth and development. His first adult Sleep Apnea patient was himself. Weighing over 225 lbs. in 2001, Dr. Christensen was persuaded to go to the hospital for a sleep test, where he was diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea. With 40 lbs. of weight loss and a sleep apnea appliance, he has no apneic episodes anymore.
After watching his father take a nap on his couch and witnessing severe obstructive sleep apnea in full view, he began his journey of trying to help not only his father, but also others that he felt he could benefit. Today, he has a multitude of happy, adult patients that he has been able to help, if not cure, their sleep disorder breathing. This can be accomplished through a simple oral appliance and sometimes orthodontics in conjunction with orthognathic surgery.
For children, it is a matter of knowing what is causing the airway obstruction. It could be due to a small nasal airway, enlarged tonsils and adenoids or a tongue that drops into the back of the throat. This can be caused by a deficiency of growth of the lower jaw or very narrow upper and lower jaws that can’t accommodate the tongue. Treatment could consist of expansion of the upper and/or lower jaws. It can also include helping the lower jaw to grow forward, which in turn helps to pull the tongue out of the back of the throat.
Since becoming a member of Sleep Group Solutions, Dr. Christensen has the equipment necessary, including a Pharyngometer and Rhinometer, to diagnose sleep disorders. The Pharyngometer and Rhinometer use sonar (sound waves) to map the area of the nasal airway and throat (pharynx) to pinpoint the area of constriction or obstruction of the airway. With the Rhinometer, he can now determine with more accuracy the effects of maxillary expansion on the nasal airway. With the Pharyngometer, he can determine the most optimal position of the mandible in vertical and horizontal positions that will open the airway and most benefit the patient.
He is a pioneer in this technology for the Lewiston/ Clarkston region and is dedicated to providing the best treatment for children and adults with Sleep Disorder Breathing.