Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can cause a person to stop breathing while they sleep. It can lead to significant health problems, such as daytime fatigue, mood swings, and heart issues. If you’re having difficulty sleeping due to snoring or other symptoms of sleep apnea, you may want to consider dental appliances for treatment. Let’s take a look at the basics of sleep apnea and how it can be treated with oral appliances.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when an individual’s throat muscles relax during sleep, allowing the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the airway. This causes them to either partially or completely stop breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time throughout the night. When this happens, oxygen levels in the blood drop significantly, which causes them to wake up briefly in order to regain normal oxygen levels. These brief awakenings can occur many times each night without the person even realizing it; however, it still results in poor quality of sleep and untold damage on their overall health.
Fortunately, there are treatments available for those who suffer from sleep apnea. One such treatment is oral appliance therapy (OAT). OAT involves fitting an individual with a custom-made dental appliance that helps keep their airway open while they sleep by repositioning their jaw slightly forward or pushing down their tongue slightly so that it doesn’t block their airway during sleep. Oral appliances are effective at treating both mild and moderate forms of OSA, as well as snoring associated with OSA. The appliance fits comfortably over your teeth much like a retainer or mouthguard would; however, it is designed specifically for each patient’s individual needs so that it works most effectively for them.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy offers several advantages over other forms of OSA treatment such as CPAP machines (continuous positive airway pressure). Unlike CPAP machines which involve wearing a mask connected to an airflow machine throughout the night, dental appliances are much more discreet and comfortable since they fit directly inside your mouth while you are sleeping. They also require less maintenance than CPAP machines since they don’t need any external power sources or filters changed out regularly; all you have to do is clean your appliance daily with toothpaste and water! Additionally, oral appliances are portable so if you travel often you won’t have to worry about lugging around a bulky machine wherever you go!
Sleep apnea can be a serious medical condition that affects millions worldwide; however, it doesn’t have to control your life if you get proper treatment right away! Oral appliance therapy is one effective form of treatment that offers numerous advantages over other forms such as CPAP machines including comfortability, portability, and ease of use/maintenance. If you’re considering getting an oral appliance for your own sleep apnea diagnosis or snoring issue make sure to consult with your doctor first in order to determine what type will work best for your individual situation! Thanks for reading–we hope this blog post has given insight into why dental appliances may be useful when treating sleep apnea!
Dr. Montz, Dr. Maher, or Dr. Dunwody at Houston Sleep Solutions South will be able to help you determine if sleep apnea treatment is right for you. Contact us now.
Locations (Tap to open in Google Maps):
2443 S Galveston Ave
Pearland, Texas 77581
Pearland Phone: 281-485-4829
1769 S. Friendswood Dr. Ste 107
Friendswood, TX 77546
Friendswood Phone: 713-565-1178