Sleep apnea is a common condition that limits one's ability to breathe throughout the night. The airway becomes obstructed, which results in a lack of oxygen flow. Sleep apnea is very dangerous and can cause serious health concerns. Thankfully, general dentists have a few approaches to tackling sleep apnea and managing it so that proper breathing…
Dental Oral Appliance Sleep Apnea Solution from a General Dentist
Sleep apnea is a health issue that leads to interruptions to your breathing while you sleep. People with severe cases of the condition can experience up to 200 of these interruptions a night, preventing them from getting quality sleep. Sleep apnea increases the risk of developing potentially life-threatening conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease due to the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep for a long time.
An oral appliance can help to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by keeping your tongue or jaw in the correct position as you sleep. This prevents your tongue from blocking your airway during sleep, reducing the risk of interruptions.
Treating obstructive sleep apnea with an oral appliance
An oral appliance fits like a retainer used after teeth straightening treatments, and it looks like a mouth guard used for sports. It supports the wearer’s tongue and jaw, helping to keep their upper airway open during sleep. Studies show oral appliances are an effective way to treat sleep apnea, particularly in mild to moderate cases.
Sleep apnea affects over 22 million people in the U.S., and most of these people have no clue they have the condition. Common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Feeling sleeping during the day
- Dry mouth
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Teeth grinding
- Difficulty concentrating
There are over 100 oral appliances that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Patients are evaluated individually, and the dentist makes a recommendation based on the factors causing their OSA. Some of the more commonly used appliances include:
- Mandibular/jaw repositioning devices: These appliances work by gently moving the patient’s jaw forward, preventing soft tissues in their throat and mouth from collapsing into their airway and blocking the flow of air
- Tongue retaining devices: These devices are used to keep the patient’s tongue in its proper resting position during sleep, so their airway remains clear
- Hybrid devices: These devices simultaneously move the patient’s jaw forward and hold their tongue in place at the same time
Treating OSA with oral appliances provides a variety of benefits, and it can help patients to avoid the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Oral appliances are small enough to fit inside a pocket, so they are easy to transport.
These appliances do not prevent the patient from talking while wearing them, and it is okay to drink water while wearing one. Unlike CPAP machines, oral appliances do not need to be connected to an energy source, and they do not make any noise.
Explore treatment options for OSA
Oral appliances provide a non-invasive way to alleviate sleep apnea. These devices help to keep your airway open during sleep so you can get back to getting quality rest. You wake up feeling fresh in the morning, ready to take on the day. Give us a call or visit our Chester clinic to learn more about how our dentist treats OSA.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea in Chester, VA.
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