Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) happens when tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway while you’re sleeping, cutting the amount of oxygen delivered throughout the body. When blood-oxygen levels drop low enough, you momentarily wake up, though sometimes so briefly you don’t even know it. Snorers may also lose sleep, sometimes because their own loud honking rouses them — not to mention their bed partner, also bothered by the noise. Dental sleep medicine is an area of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Dentists work together with sleep physicians to identify the best treatment for each patient.
One dental remedy: a custom oral appliance worn at night. These plastic devices pull the jaw forward, which advances the tongue and potentially opens the airway, cutting down on snoring and the tissue collapse that causes OSA. They resemble nightguards and retainers.
During the first visit, impressions and bite of the patient are made which are sent to a manufacturer of these appliances. During the second visit, the appliance is delivered to the patient after effecting certain modifications to ensure that the patient is comfortable. An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. It fits like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. A custom-fit oral sleep appliance is an effective treatment that prevents the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position.
For many people with OSA, appliances are a better choice than CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines prescribed to help nighttime breathing. The bulky masks aren’t for everyone and almost half of people stop using them.
Oral appliances are a welcome alternative and one that people are more likely to use. A 2013 study confirmed that oral appliances can successfully treat apnea cases of all levels of severity.
The quality of your sleep has a dramatic impact on your health, well-being and overall quality of life. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea disrupt your sleep and increase your risk of severe health problems. Remember that snoring is a warning sign that should never be ignored. Please feel free to contact us to offer you simple and effective solutions.