Sleep apnea is a health problem that you do not want to ignore. If left alone without treatment, it can promote some serious health problems, and may end up being fatal. Sleep apnea treatments should begin soon after being diagnosed with it.
After someone is diagnosed with sleep apnea and recommended for treatment, the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is the standard treatment. Because of the constant air pressure, even if you briefly stop breathing, you are still getting some air into your lungs. This will help you to have better sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed than previously.
While some people are happy with the device, which provides a steady flow of air through a mask and hose, others find it very difficult to adapt to. The mask can come off the face when you turn over, or the hose gets in the way, or your electrical power may be cut off temporarily. Some people are bothered by the increased air pressure, the sound of the machine, and other problems.
The Dental Appliance
If you are tired of the CPAP machine, a dental appliance may help you if you have obstructive sleep apnea. This little device is non-electrical and does not make constant noise through the night. It is a hard acrylic mouthpiece that is custom-made to fit your mouth.
It works by holding your jaw in a fixed position while you sleep, preventing your throat from closing and your oxygen from being cut off. The tongue is kept out of the way of your air passage.
More than 100 oral appliances have been approved by the FDA for the purpose of sleep apnea treatments. They are recommended for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, but may also be used by people with more severe sleep apnea if they cannot tolerate a CPAP machine. Other people may want to use both devices, and they can be custom-made to accommodate both.
Types of Oral Appliances
Different companies offer different types of oral appliances, although most of them do about the same thing. While most advance the lower jaw to keep the airway open, some of them will also prevent the tongue from closing your airway.
In order to customize your oral appliance, the dentist providing the sleep apnea treatment will need to make a mold of your mouth. Once it is made in a lab, it will be sent back and then need to be fitted.
Recommended Life Style Changes
- Lose weight– Sleep apnea is more common in people who are obese. Losing weight will help lose some of the excess tissue in the throat, which can help ease the symptoms.
- Quit Smoking– People who smoke are three times more likely to have problems with sleep apnea. It increases inflammation of the throat and causes fluid retention there as well.
- Avoid Sleeping Pills and Alcohol– These things cause the muscles in your upper airway to relax more, and may also cause you to wake up more during the night.
The friendly dentists at Fresh Dental Smiles can help you with sleep apnea treatments, and give you the oral appliance you need for better rest and health. All of our staff is licensed and experienced in many aspects of dentistry and we treat the whole family.