Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition in which your breathing starts and stops repeatedly during sleep. It is fairly common and fortunately, it is also treatable. If you think you are dealing with sleep apnea, it is important to obtain a diagnosis and get treatment so you can avoid severe side effects of the…
How a Dentist Uses an Oral Appliance to Help With Sleep Apnea
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.
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.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea in Baltimore, MD.
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a variety of treatment options. While the use of continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) machines remains the standard treatment, oral appliances have been proven to be just as effective when treating mild to moderate OSA.Treating OSA with oral appliances involves the patient wearing the appliance during sleep. These…
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that leads to a person's breathing being interrupted while they sleep. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to health issues like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and it increases the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages from toddlers…
Biannual dental check-up appointments are important for both oral health and general wellbeing. The examination is more than just checking the teeth surfaces – the dentist will examine your bite, tongue, gums, cheeks, jaw joints, neck, and lymph nodes. Every part of the oral cavity is important for oral health and physical health. Any sign…