Sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing to stop temporarily during sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, restlessness, choking, and waking up with a sore throat. The condition can usually be treated using a dental appliance. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause poor sleep that contributes to high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, and heart disease. Here are some of the ways that your dentist can help relieve your sleep apnea:
Before you receive treatment, your dentist will need to determine the specific kind of sleep apnea that you have. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the throat muscles relax and restrict breathing. However, other forms of the disorder, such as central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea, can also occur. Dentists can usually treat mild to severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea with a high degree of success. In some cases, additional medical attention from other types of specialists may be required.
Depending on your specific case, your dentist may recommend that you wear a dental appliance to relieve sleep apnea. A dental appliance is a retainer-like device that is put inside the mouth at nighttime. While store-bought appliances are available, devices that can be fitted to each patient’s mouth often provide better results. The most common professional dental appliance used is a mandibular advancement device , which moves the lower jaw forward to decrease airway constriction.
Wearing a dental appliance designed to alleviate sleep apnea can provide you with a number of benefits. These devices open the airways and are effective for preventing interruptions in breathing. By allowing you to breathe freely, a sleep apnea appliance can help you sleep better at night and prevent snoring. Your dental appliance will be comfortable to wear and will require little maintenance.
To find out how you can benefit from wearing a dental appliance, call Chicago’s University Associates in Dentistry. At our comprehensive dental practice, we offer sleep apnea treatments and can find the corrective option that is right for you. For more information, call (312) 704-5511.