Sleep Apnea Treatment

you may be not aware of the fact that some root causes of sleep apnea are connected with the set and position of your jaw. Orthodontic treatment and devices like mouth guard can help to solve this problem, also known as obstructive sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during their sleep cycles. This is dangerous because, as you know, one can only go so long without oxygen before deprivation becomes fatal.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three different types of sleep apnea that you should know about before seeking out a dentist for help:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This happens when the throat is obstructed or relaxed during sleep
  • Central Sleep Apnea: Occurs when the brain stops sending breathing signals to the body
  • Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: Happens because of a combination of the former two disorders

Which Types of Sleep Apnea Can a Dentist Treat?

Dentists can only help treat the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Your jaw can be fixed into a particular position; however, the brain is not such a simple fix.

How to Get Diagnosed with OSA Through a Dentist

If you suspect that you may have OSA or any other type of sleep apnea, bring it up with your doctor or dentist during an appointment. Together, you will talk about your symptoms and what may contribute to them.

Potential Symptoms of OSA

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep or upon waking
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches upon waking
  • Fatigue or sluggishness; feeling like sleep did not refresh you
  • Insomnia
  • Sleepiness/drowsiness during the day
  • Irritability

Of course, these symptoms can be caused by a number of other medical problems, but ruling out sleep apnea by being tested is always a good choice.

Factors Causing OSA

  • Your family history can determine whether you have OSA. Your risk is increased if someone else you are closely related to has it.
  • Men are at a higher risk of OSA than women.
  • The use of depressants like alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers could lead to the development of OSA because they force your throat muscles to relax.
  • Fat deposits in your neck weigh on the throat and can obstruct your airway.
  • Age has a lot to do with the development of OSA. Older adults have a significantly higher chance of having any form of sleep apnea.
  • Smoking increases inflammation in the airway which can stop your breathing during sleep.

While dentists can’t diagnose the condition themselves or determine the results of your sleep study, they can give you the means to find someone who can.

How a Dentist Can Help Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

A dentist can’t help you lose weight, be younger, or stop your bad habits, but they can treat the symptoms of your OSA with different mouth guards. These are specifically made for sleep apnea.

How Do They Work?

These mouth guards are designed to keep your jaw in a forward position while you sleep. This keeps it from relaxing too much and collapsing your airway, causing your breathing to stop.

Which Types of Mouth Guards Are There for OSA?

There are two main types of sleep apnea mouth guards that your dentist could recommend to treat your OSA:

  • Mandibular Advance Devices. These look quite similar to retainers or sports mouth guards. They snap over your upper and lower teeth and are connected by a metal hinge to keep them together and secure. MADs ensure that your jaw lowered and your tongue keeps forward.
  • Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces. These are MADs with one addition: a tongue compartment. It slips over and around your tongue to keep it from falling back onto your throat and over your airway.

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