April 15, 2020
Statistics show that over 20 million Americans are currently suffering from some form of sleep apnea. If you’re one of them, then you’re well aware that the frequent interruptions in your sleep deprive you of feeling rested and productive during the day. Instead of belaboring on the negative effects it has on your life, though, you’d like to find a solution. Thankfully, a sleep dentist can help you breathe normally at night so you can get the quality rest you need. Read on to find out how.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The most common form of sleep apnea that people have is OSA. The term refers to a partial or full blockage of the airway while sleeping, which triggers the loud snoring that is so familiar among people suffering from the condition. The inhibited airflow also leads to bouts of apnea. Thus, the goal of the sleep breathing treatment you receive is to keep the airway open to prevent any dangerous stoppages and maintain uninterrupted sleep.
Treating OSA with a CPAP Machine
The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is the most recognized method of treating OSA. However, many patients struggle with it. Some common complaints are that the nasal mask is too cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear while sleeping, and the machine is loud. Thankfully, there is another option.
OSA Treatment with an Oral Appliance
An oral appliance offers a much more convenient way to address sleep apnea. A custom-made device, it is small and can be easily inserted into your mouth. Just like a CPAP machine, its purpose is to help you maintain a steady flow of oxygen throughout the night and avoid the many side effects that can be experienced from prolonged OSA.
Here are the two main types of appliances available:
- Mandibular Repositioning Device – Designed more specifically for treating OSA, the device slightly repositions the jaw and tongue to allow for better airflow.
- Tongue Retaining Device – It places a greater focus on the position of the tongue, as it’s designed to push it forward to prevent an airway blockage. This type of oral appliance is typically used for patients with larger tongues, who’ve suffered tooth loss or have chronic pain.
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Sleep Apnea
If you’ve been living with sleep apnea, then there is more to be concerned with than just snoring and feeling lethargic. It can also contribute to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, liver dysfunction and complications with diabetes.
However, by taking the time to seek treatment from a qualified sleep dentist, you can make a substantial and positive impact on your overall health!
About the Author
Dr. Steven Stec earned his dental degree from the University of Nebraska Medical College of Dentistry in Lincoln, Nebraska. Although he has over 30 years of experience in the dental field, he stays abreast of the latest changes and innovations in dentistry. Dr. Stec designs custom oral appliances to treat sleep apnea at Stec Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, and he can be reached for more information through his website.
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