How a Dentist Uses an Oral Appliance to Help With Sleep Apnea

Do I Have Sleep Apnea Baltimore, MD

Living with sleep apnea is serious and is not something you should ever ignore. Untreated, this condition can be life-threatening. Even in more mild cases, you could have severe consequences. You may first think about going to the doctor’s office. While this is a viable option, you should also consider visiting your dentist. There are treatments available to help you overcome the effects.

A summary of sleep apnea—what it is and what it does

There are two types of this illness: central and obstructive. In central sleep apnea, there is a problem with the brain’s ability to communicate with the respiratory system to breathe properly. Obstructive sleep apnea is what the dentist can treat. It occurs when something is blocking the airway, preventing the person from breathing effectively. Excess tissue in the throat or the tongue can cause this blockage.

This condition causes the person to stop breathing while they are asleep. The interruptions can be a few seconds but may also be up to a few minutes. The person may snore or gasp for breath in an effort to breathe well. People who struggle with this illness may feel exhausted or have difficulty concentrating.

A visit to the dentist’s office

An examination from the dentist is a good way to start a treatment plan. The dentist will look inside the person’s mouth to see if there are any detectable blockage problems. The dentist may also take X-rays. There will be a series of questions, too, where the dentist will ask about how long the symptoms have been going on. The patient should also report any other concerns about sleep apnea. Based on this information, the dentist can form a treatment plan.

How mouthguards work

A mouth appliance is often the most effective way the dentist can treat sleep apnea. The patient will only wear it at night while sleeping. It is similar to the type of mouthguard a person would wear to stop teeth-grinding problems. It fits over the teeth and conforms to the shape of the person’s mouth. The appliance pushes the jaw forward, opening the airway more to allow oxygen in and out of the mouth.

The dentist will take impressions of the person’s mouth to ensure the appliance fits well. Once it is ready, the dentist tests it to ensure that it is comfortable. Over the next few months, the dentist will follow up and may make some adjustments. The patient should keep it in a secure place when not wearing it.

Tongue depressors

When the tongue is the culprit blocking the airway and causing sleep apnea, the dentist may recommend another solution. A tongue depressor keeps the tongue from rolling to the back of the throat. It also keeps it from going to the roof of the mouth and restricting airflow. As with a mouthguard, the dentist may have to make adjustments every few months.

Treatment is available

Overcoming sleep apnea is possible when you get the right help. Your dentist has some solutions. Make an appointment today so you can breathe well at night. With a mouth appliance, you can once more have a restful night.

Request an appointment here: or call Perkins Dental Care at (410) 844-0632 for an appointment in our Baltimore office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea in Baltimore, MD.

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