Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that affects millions of people around the world. While there are various conventional treatments available, some people may hesitate to try them due to their side effects, invasive procedures, or high costs. Fortunately, there are alternative dental options that can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea without causing discomfort or inconvenience. In this blog post, we will discuss what sleep apnea is, its symptoms, and how you can treat it using dental options.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing for a few seconds to a minute while asleep. It can range from mild to severe, and it can happen hundreds of times a night, leading to disrupted sleep and serious health problems. There are three types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – which is the most common type, Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), and Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome (CSAS). The causes of sleep apnea vary from person to person and can be due to different factors such as obesity, smoking, allergies, enlarged tonsils, or a deviated septum.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping or choking while asleep, waking up with a headache, dry mouth, prolonged sleepiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Some people also experience depression, anxiety, and memory loss caused by the lack of oxygen in their brain. If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Dental Options for Sleep Apnea
Dental options for sleep apnea involve the use of oral appliances that can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea and prevent further complications. These oral appliances are custom-made by a dentist or orthodontist to fit the patient’s mouth and adjust the position of the jaw and tongue during sleep. By doing so, the airway is kept open and the flow of oxygen is improved, reducing snoring and preventing apnea. Some of the most common dental options for sleep apnea include mandibular advancement devices (MAD) and tongue retaining devices (TRD).
Mandibular Advancement Devices
Mandibular Advancement Devices or MADs are the most popular dental option for sleep apnea. They are similar to sports mouthguards or retainers and are designed to hold the lower jaw forward and prevent the tongue from collapsing into the throat. MADs are adjustable, meaning that the dentist can adjust the device to provide greater comfort and effectiveness. They are also easy to clean and maintain, and more affordable compared to other sleep apnea treatments.
Tongue Retaining Devices
Tongue Retaining Devices (TRDs) are another dental option for treating sleep apnea. They work by holding the tongue in place, preventing it from blocking the airway, and improving breathing. TRDs are custom-made to fit the patient’s tongue, and they are typically recommended for people who have a narrow jaw, significant nasal congestion, or a large tongue. TRDs are easy to wear, clean, and maintain. However, they may require an adjustment period to get used to as they can cause excess salivation or tongue discomfort.
In summary, sleep apnea is a serious and prevalent condition that can lead to various health complications if left untreated. Dental options for sleep apnea offer a comfortable and effective solution that does not involve surgery or invasive procedures. If you suspect that you or someone you know has sleep apnea, we recommend that you seek professional help and consider dental options as a viable treatment. By doing so, you can improve your sleep quality, reduce snoring, and enjoy a better quality of life.
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