Sleep apnea is a condition that affects millions of Americans, resulting in lost sleep and other health issues. Individual cases can vary from minimal to severe sleep apnea, but the health risks involved are not to be ignored. Sleep apnea can result in snoring and fatigue of course, but also serious side effects like high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, heart disease, heart attack, stroke and increased risk of diabetes.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing periodically through the night due to an obstruction in their airway. When you are asleep all of your muscles relax, including throat and mouth muscles that may be covered in fatty tissues, resulting in an obstructed airway. This puts stress on your respiratory system that is trying to maintain a steady flow of oxygen.
The good news is that we have sleep apnea appliances that can be used to treat the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. It’s very important to have these devices specially fitted by a dentist so that they are effective.
Mandibular advancement devices (MADs)
MADs work by pushing the lower and tongue slightly forward, preventing relaxed muscles and tissue from blocking the airway during sleep. This sleep apnea appliance looks similar to a mouthguard or orthodontic retainer, which is why it needs to be properly fitted by a dentist.
Tongue retaining mouthpieces
These devices can be used by patients who have difficulty repositioning their jaw forward. Tongue retaining mouthpieces have a compartment that uses suction to hold the tongue forward to prevent it from falling back and blocking the airway.
Benefits of sleep apnea appliances
Many patients choose sleep apnea appliances because they are simple to use and easy to travel with. CPAP masks can be uncomfortable, and often cause dry sinuses. We recommend dental appliances for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, as well as patients who experience snoring. If you think you may have sleep apnea, you should talk to your primary care doctor or schedule a consultation with a sleep clinic.
Newbury Dental Group provides a wide variety of dental services and procedures to address all of our patients’ dental health needs. By combining quality patient care with up-to-date technology, we are able to treat patients of all ages in a comfortable and relaxing setting.