Sleep apnea is a common disorder that can leave you feeling tired and sleepy during the day. The condition leads to breathing coming to a stop during sleep, forcing your brain to wake up to restore breathing momentarily. People with the condition can have hundreds of these interruptions during sleep.Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by…
A Family Dentist Discusses Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Custom-made oral appliances provided by a general dentist have been shown to work effectively for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the use of these oral pieces to improve snoring and sleep quality can also improve general wellbeing. The dentist will examine the patient, take impressions of their teeth and have a well-fitting oral appliance produced for the patient.
The effects of sleep apnea
Regardless of the number of hours spent sleeping, patients with sleep apnea will usually wake up feeling exhausted. In the case of obstructive apnea, jaw placement and oral tissues may contribute to blocking airflow. The restricted airflow will cause breathing cessation and recurrent wakeups during sleep without the patient realizing it.
Blockage of the airways can also result from swollen tonsils and glands, misalignment or swelling around the jaw, drinking alcohol before bedtime, obesity or nasal issues such as allergies or a deviated septum.
Sleep apnea is harmful to overall wellbeing. The condition can predispose the person to the risk of health disorders such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity and low blood oxygen. In severe cases, sleep apnea may cause death. It is advisable to visit a medical professional as soon as possible for treatment.
How oral appliances for sleep apnea work
Oral appliances for sleep apnea are custom-made to fit the specific form of the patient’s teeth and mouth. The device is also called a mandibular advancement device (MAD), jaw advancing device (JAD) or mandibular repositioning device. It works by opening the airways to make breathing easier. It covers the upper and lower teeth and moves the tongue and mandible forward to prevent them from blocking the air passage.
Oral appliances can also prevent the soft tissues at the back of the throat from falling back into the airway. Wearing the device ultimately helps reduce and stop the side effects of sleep apnea. Another oral device option is the tongue retaining device, which is a splint for holding the tongue in place. For those whose jaw cannot move forward properly, this option may be effective for them. Like mandibular advancement devices, they work to stop the jaw and oral tissues from inhibiting the flow of oxygen.
After getting the oral appliance, the dentist will ensure it fits correctly. Within a day of usage, the patient will notice significant improvements in their sleep quality. Getting sufficient oxygen during sleep will ensure the person wakes up feeling refreshed and energetic. The success of sleep apnea treatment with oral appliances lies in regular usage. Patients need to remember to wear the device before bedtime.
Some of the advantages of using oral appliances for sleep apnea include:
- Convenient to carry when traveling
- Easy maintenance
- Quiet operation (unlike CPAP)
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Also helps with TMJ disorders
Do you suffer from sleep apnea?
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you can visit a general dentist to discuss your treatment options. The dental professional can provide oral appliances to relieve snoring and sleep apnea.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Sleep Apnea in Lake Forest, CA.
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Sleep apnea is a frustrating condition that affects many people’s ability to function normally each day. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for sleep apnea, and those who utilize professional treatment from a dentist often see many useful benefits, such as the ability to function better each day.All too many who have sleep apnea…