Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops for short periods of time during sleep. It can be caused by several factors, such as being overweight, allergies, or even stress. It also can lead to many adverse health effects, including heart problems and depression. That’s why at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, we take the time to diagnose this condition and prescribe personalized treatment so that you can have a better night’s rest.
How Do You Treat Sleep Apnea?
Understand What It Is
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which breathing involuntarily stops and starts when sleeping. It can be caused by airway collapse, tongue movement during sleep, or from the body’s efforts to breathe harder and faster trying to get oxygen into the lungs.
This condition can be dangerous because you could wake up feeling tired or exhausted even after getting enough hours of sleep at night. Also, snoring can get so loud that your bed partner wakes up to check if something wrong is happening to you while sleeping. If left untreated, this condition can make one not able to function mentally and physically, leading to obesity and heart problems, among many other issues.
What Treatment Is Like
When it comes to treating this sleep disorder, the first thing you need to do is find out what your options are. There are many different treatment methods that work for certain people depending on their symptoms and causes. However, oral appliances are usually one of the first things that patients should try.
This is because they are very effective and easy to use as long as you have a prescription for them from your doctor or dentist. Moreover, oral devices do not require any effort on your part other than wearing them each night while you sleep.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliances are a great way to treat this sleep disorder because they can be easily adjusted and refitted. This means that if you have an oral appliance, your doctor or dentist will download the specifics of it onto a computer program so that they can see what areas need work or how small or large of adjustments should be made on your device. These adjustments ensure optimal results for treating your particular case.
What’s the Process of Getting an Oral Appliance?
Most dentists will start by taking impressions of your teeth, which are then sent to a lab for fabrication. Once you receive the appliance in the mail, it is important that you follow all directions carefully and maintain good oral hygiene when wearing this device. A common mistake people make with their appliances is not wearing them long enough or incorrectly fitting them.
Your doctor or dentist should give you specific instructions on how often to wear your appliance during the night, depending on what kind of treatment they recommend.
Types of Oral Appliances
There is a wide range of oral appliances available on the market today and each device has its own specific function and design. The most common oral devices are mandibular advancement splint (MAS), tongue retaining devices, and soft palate lifter.
Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS)
This appliance is designed to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea by holding the lower jaw forward. The device fits around your teeth and protrudes out in front of your mouth. It holds the tongue forward, which helps keep the airway open during sleep. Most people get used to their devices and find them easy to use every day after sleeping with them for some time.
In general, this type of treatment works best for those who have milder forms of OSA because they only hold the jaw slightly forward instead of all the way up like more severe cases would require.
Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD)
Another device that is used to help treat OSA is a TRD. These devices are usually made of acrylic and have two prongs on them, with one being longer than the other. This treatment option is typically best for people with mild forms of OSA because it doesn’t hold the jaw in place but holds your tongue in a forward position, which helps keep the airway open during sleep.
You can use this device at night while you’re sleeping or when you need to be more conscious about keeping your mouth shut. For example, if you go out in public places where food particles may get caught between your teeth causing an obstruction.
Soft Palate Lifter or Hyoid Lifter
This is an implant that works by lifting the soft palate or hyoid bone. This method keeps your mouth shut by holding the tongue in place, so no food particles get caught there to cause an obstruction when you’re sleeping or not paying attention when out in public places.
This option is best for people who have mild cases because it doesn’t hold onto any part of your jaw, which might cause discomfort at night if tightened too much.
Benefits of Oral Appliances for OSA
Oral appliances are a safe and effective way to treat OSA. Let’s take a look at the benefits of oral appliances vs other treatments for OSA.
An Effective Treat Method
Unlike CPAP, oral appliances are designed to treat this condition by keeping the airway open during sleep. They also can be adjusted so that they fit perfectly, which will increase comfort while you sleep.
Effective Alternative to CPAP
Oral appliances are a great alternative for people who have difficulty tolerating CPAP or those that simply do not want to use it. That’s because CPAP requires the use of a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
Portable When Traveling
Oral appliances are also a good option for those who travel frequently. Since it is not as bulky or cumbersome as CPAP, you can easily take your oral appliance with you when traveling and use it to sleep comfortably in hotels.
Unlike CPAP, which can be loud and distracting (especially if you share a room with others), the use of an oral appliance will not disturb anyone.
Improves Symptoms of OSA
Using an oral appliance can not only reduce the severity of your sleep apnea, but it can also improve other symptoms associated with OSA, like snoring, concetration issues, and daytime sleepiness.
There’re different ways to diagnose OSA. One of them is to measure moisture in the mouth with a special device and keep track of whether you stop breathing when sleeping or not.
Another way is to monitor your oxygen levels and heart rate while asleep; if they both drop significantly, it’s considered an episode of stopped breathing. Also, having episodes where you wake up gasping for air can be another sign that something might be wrong with your throat muscles during sleep time.
Polysomnography is usually made during a sleep study or an overnight home test. In these tests, the patient must stay at the facility for several hours and be monitored throughout the night. This test records the patient’s brain waves during sleep and measures blood oxygen levels with an oximetry probe attached to the finger or ear lobe.
It also records airflow from both nasal passages with flexible tubes inserted in each nostril. The recordings are carefully evaluated by experienced technicians who often can detect evidence of the disorder in a laboratory setting.
The symptoms are not always easy to detect. If you have OSA, breathing pauses occur about 5-10 times or more per hour of sleep. You may snore loudly and feel tired upon waking up in the morning when you don’t get enough deep sleep throughout the night.
Symptoms can vary from person to person depending on how severe their condition is, but common symptoms include:
- Challenges falling asleep at bedtime
- Trouble staying awake during daily activities
- Poor job and school performance
- Experiencing extreme irritability
- Feeling sleepy even after getting an adequate amount of rest
- Gasping for air while sleeping
- Experiencing a dry throat in the morning
- Pounding heartbeats
Make An Appointment Today!
Treating sleep apnea can be done! It’s essential to visit your doctor if you think you have a sleeping disorder and then come see us to understand how oral appliances can help. Visit us at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, so we can help you get a better night’s sleep.