Seeking treatment for sleep apnea is important. Aside from disturbing your sleep and creating health complications due to that disturbed sleep, the condition can leave you tired the next day and affect your performance at work and your safety when driving. Your dentist can fit you with an oral device to wear while you sleep, which can be an effective treatment for sleep apnea.
This type of sleep apnea treatment is used to treat mild and moderate cases as well as intolerance to a CPAP machine. The first step is to complete a sleep study to determine the type of apnea you have and if it’s mild, moderate, or severe. Specifically, the oral appliance is used for treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). There are other types of sleep apnea that need different treatments. Here’s how an oral appliance can treat obstructive sleep apnea.
This Form of Sleep Apnea (OSA) is Caused by Airway Obstruction
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you’ve probably been told you snore while you sleep. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea often go hand in hand because snoring occurs when your airway relaxes deeply when you sleep. If your tongue or other tissues block your airway, it creates a loud snoring noise while you breathe.
A dental appliance is often effective because it’s able to keep your airway open when you’re deeply relaxed. This prevents airway obstruction and also reduces snoring.
The Sleep Apnea Appliance is Similar to a Mouth Guard
Once you get used to wearing an oral appliance for sleep apnea, you may agree it’s worth the effort to adapt to wearing the device while you’re sleeping in order to improve your sleep quality. You may notice you have more energy and you’re more alert after a good night’s sleep. In addition, the oral appliance can double as a treatment for teeth grinding if you have that condition as well.
You wear the appliance over your teeth and it pushes your jaw forward so your airway stays open. Different styles are available. Some pull your tongue forward and others push your jaw forward. Your dentist can choose the best device for your condition.
A Dentist Will Fit You for the Appliance
The sleep apnea device should be comfortable to wear because it’s fitted by your dentist. They make impressions of your teeth so the device fits properly and is effective and tolerable. Your dentist should teach you how to use the device as well. You’ll need to wear it every time you sleep or nap. They may even order another sleep test while you’re wearing the appliance to make sure it’s working properly.
An Oral Device May Be More Comfortable Than CPAP
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is often used to treat OSA. If your condition is serious, you may need to use a CPAP machine alone or in combination with an oral device. However, if the CPAP is intolerable or you have mild or moderate sleep apnea, you may find wearing the oral device to be more comfortable than wearing a CPAP mask.
When your treatment is comfortable, you’re more likely to use it. A common problem with CPAP is compliance. Not using your sleep apnea equipment as ordered could lead to health complications.
A Device Made by Your Dentist is Usually Best
You may see oral devices in the drugstore or online but talk to your dentist before you buy one. These probably won’t work as well since they’re not custom-made. Plus, it’s probably not a good idea to treat yourself for sleep apnea. Instead, you need a doctor or dentist to order a sleep test to understand your condition better and then provide treatment and monitor how well you respond.
It’s important to know there are a few options for treating sleep apnea. Surgery might even be required depending on what’s causing your airway obstruction. That’s why it’s important to work with a professional for sleep apnea treatment. With the right treatment, you’ll be able to get more restful sleep so you can function and feel better.
If you have any questions about treating your sleep apnea with a dental appliance, schedule an appointment with Commack Hills Dental Group at your earliest convenience.