Your sleep impacts every aspect of your health and daily life. Sleeping well helps you look, feel and perform your best. But a sleep problem can be harmful to your health and well-being. One of the most common sleep problems is obstructive sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common and serious sleeping disorder that happens when your regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. Snoring is common among patients with sleep apnea but not all snorers have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce your oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep.
There are two main types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea. The more common form, it is the result of blocked airflow during sleep, usually when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses while you sleep. Health factors, such as obesity may contribute.
Central sleep apnea. Results from a problem with how the brain signals the breathing muscles. The airway is not blocked, instead the brain fails to signal the muscles to breath. This type of sleep apnea can occur with conditions such as heart failure, brain tumors, brain infections, and stroke.
Is Treating sleep apnea important?
Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important to your health. When left untreated, sleep apnea often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, as well as morning headaches and memory loss. Sleep apnea also is a threat to your safety as it increases your risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea raises your risk for serious health problems. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic acid reflux
How is it treated by the dentist?
Sleep apnea dental treatment with Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A custom-fit oral sleep appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health
Dental Appliances for sleep apnea
Before any treatment options can be determined, a sleep study must first be performed to determine the severity of one’s symptoms as it can have a direct influence on the recommended therapy.
The most common form of therapy is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, which blow a steady stream of pressurized air through a mask into the respiratory system.
For mild to moderate sleep apnea, a dental device is often the recommended therapy. Dental devices may also be recommended to be worn in conjunction a CPAP device to help lower high pressure needs.Sleep apnea dental appliance cost depend on the severity and duration for whicg the patient would wear the appliance.
How do dental appliances work?
For Sleep apnea dental treatment ,there are two major categories of dental devices:
1.Mandibular advancement devices (MADs)
2.Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces
MADs used to treat sleep apnea look very similar to sports mouthguard or orthodontic retainers. They fit into the mouth by snapping over the upper and lower dental arches and have metal hinges connecting the two pieces: one fits over the upper teeth, and the other fits over the lower teeth.
MADs work by pushing the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward, which helps prevent throat muscles and issues (such as the pharynx) from collapsing back into the airways allowing for normal breathing during sleep. Most MADs are adjustable, allowing for dentists to fine-tune the position of the jaw for maximum effectiveness.
Tongue retaining mouthpieces are similar in construction to the MAD, but has a small compartment that fits around the tongue using suction to keep it held forward, preventing it from collapsing back into the airway. These devices are mostly used in patients who cannot adequately have their jaw repositioned forward.
If you think you have sleep apnea, make sure to speak with your dentist for more information and possible evaluation.