Sleep Apnea is a condition that results in the suspension of breathing multiple times during any period of sleep. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea that happens when the muscles in the back of the throat relax resulting in the airway becoming blocked. The inability to get adequate air sends a message to the brain that awakens the patient … this brief interlude allows for the airway to open and breathing resumes until it occurs again. This cycle can repeat hundreds of times a night. If you suspect this might be impacting your life, an appointment with your dentist to discuss being fit with a sleep apnea appliance may be the solution for relief.
How Do Sleep Apnea Appliances Work?
The appliance resembles a mouthguard worn to protect teeth during sporting activities. It is made to fit your mouth specifically, and is designed to adjust your jaw in a forward position that will help to keep the breathing airway open.
Oral appliance therapy is advantageous over other types of treatment as it is a non-invasive option that is comfortable, compact for easy travel, simple to care for, and it works.
How Do I Know If This Is Right For Me?
Your dentist will perform a thorough examination and through the use of either dental or digital impressions, will have a customized oral appliance fabricated specifically for you. In order for this type of treatment to be effective, it is important that it fit and work correctly. Adjustments can be made as needed.
If you suspect you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, treatment is crucial for long term health. A few of the risk factors that may point to this diagnosis include obesity, being older, those with a family history of OSA, and being male.
Some symptoms to watch for are loud snoring, gasping for air during the night, insomnia, feeling tired throughout the day, and awakening with a dry mouth and/or headache. Some of these irregularities may be more noticeable for a partner than the patient.
Wearing an oral appliance is convenient; just place it in the mouth as your are retiring for the night. There will likely be an adjustment period while you get used to wearing it, but the rewards of a restful night’s sleep and better long term health will certainly be worth it.
To learn more about oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.