Sleep apnea occurs when we stop breathing while sleeping. This could occur a few times up to hundreds of times per night. Whether we stop breathing for a second or a few minutes, it could be detrimental to our health and wellbeing, even putting our lives at risk. Sleep apnea has been known to be a predecessor to various illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. There are many solutions that can assist with sleep apnea, but the least invasive could come from the dentist office.
A Nonsurgical Approach
Sleep apnea was historically treated with surgery, which proved to be very invasive and not always successful. It has also been treated with CPAP, or continuous positive air pressure device, which is cumbersome, making it difficult to sleep at all. Recently, patients have learned of the benefits of dentists in the treatment of sleep apnea. An oral appliance, prescribed by the dentist, might be the answer that we need to help open up our airway and prevent the breathing difficulties that we have been experiencing. In most mild to moderate cases, an oral appliance is enough to prevent sleep apnea.
How it Works
An oral appliance that treats sleep apnea helps to reposition the lower jaw, tongue, or soft palate, depending on the issues that we suffer from that are causing sleep apnea. Each of the appliances help to open up the airway, whether by keeping the jaw in a protruded position or forcing the tongue forward. It helps to avoid the collapse of the airway that causes the disruption in sleep.
The oral appliance is a custom fit appliance that is made for our mouth to ensure the proper opening of the airways. The custom fit appliances are a much better choice than the over-the-counter products because they are made to fit our mouth and target the exact problem, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach. Most oral appliances are comfortable to wear, easy to travel with and more likely to be used on a consistent basis to treat sleep apnea.
When we chronically snore, suffer from chronic fatigue or are told by our partner that we stopped breathing while sleeping, it is worth a consultation to determine if we are suffering from sleep apnea and if we are a candidate for a non-invasive oral appliance to treat the issue and potentially save our life.