Oral Appliance TherapyHighlands Ranch, CO
It may be surprising to some, but did you know your dentist can actually help with sleep apnea? The dentist is able to prescribe and fit you for a special oral appliance that can assist with proper airflow throughout the night. Here is what you should know about these devices.
What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds in your sleep on a regular basis. The severity of sleep apnea depends on how often you stop breathing in the duration of an hour. Snoring can be a sign of partial sleep apnea; so are gasps and chokes when breathing is resumed. The cessation of breath is due to the muscles in the throat and mouth relaxing to the point where they restrict the airway. Along with constant fatigue from a lack of proper sleep, sleep apnea can lead to long-term complications such as cardiac issues and strokes.
How does an oral appliance work?
The purpose of oral appliances is to help prevent sleep apnea through placement in the mouth. Thanks to mandibular advancement devices and tongue retaining mouthpieces, oral appliances are a step down from having to use advanced equipment to treat sleep apnea. Wearing an oral appliance is incredibly easy. It is customized for your mouth specifically so it fits snugly and securely. As a result, you can simply slip it into place when you go to sleep. It remains in place inside of your mouth and does an excellent job of holding your lower jaw in the forward position. This prevents your tongue from falling backward and keeps your airway clear. Some people receive all of the benefit they need by wearing an oral appliance, while those with severe sleep apnea may also require the use of a CPAP machine at the same time. In this case, most patients report that their CPAP is far more comfortable than when they were using it as a standalone treatment option.
The oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea do have some drawbacks and possible complications that need to be watched for and discussed with your dentist before using the appliance. They include the following:
- The appliances lead to increased amounts of saliva in the mouth, requiring frequent swallowing.
- Damage to teeth and soft tissues in the mouth and jaw muscles and joints is possible.
- The appliance can cause discomfort, especially in the morning. This may result in people not wanting to use the device as often as they should.
- The sleep apnea may be too severe for an oral appliance to be effective.
Oral appliances require a proper fitting in order to be effective for sleep apnea treatment, but they are simple and effective devices. Frequent visits with your dentist for any fitting changes as well as monitoring the effectiveness of your oral appliance can help you find the right fit to aid you in your sleep therapy. You do not need to suffer through sleep apnea affects when your dentist can help you with a simple device.
At Colorado Precision Dentistry and Orthodontics, we invite you to schedule an appointment to have your oral appliance evaluation so you can exhaust all options before considering escalating your treatment. Surgery is not something to be taken lightly and should only be performed as a last result. To further discuss our non-invasive solution, call (303) 481-0565 to speak with one of our team members today.
To learn more about sleep apnea or discuss your oral health in general, call (303) 481-0565 and schedule an appointment with our Highlands Ranch dental office. At Colorado Precision Dentistry and Orthodontics, we are happy to discuss your health challenges and make recommendations, even if we have to refer you to a specialist for treatment.
People Also Ask
Definition of Dental Terminology
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the function) of a person’s teeth, gums and/or bite.
- Tooth decay is when the enamel of the tooth begins to decay and cause erosion from plaque and tartar on the teeth.
- Dental Caries
- Dental caries are also known as cavities and result from a lack of proper oral hygiene leaving plaque that forms tiny holes in the teeth.
- Dental Checkup
- A dental checkup is an appointment that involves cleaning the teeth, identifying any signs of infection and removing said signs of infection at least once every six months in the office.
- Dental Filling
- A dental filling involves restoring the structure of the tooth by using metal, alloy, porcelain or plastic to fill the tooth.
- Dental Prophylaxis
- A dental prophylaxis is a professional and detailed cleaning that involves the removal of plaque, calculus and stains from the teeth.
- Dental Sealants
- Dental sealants contain a resinous material that we apply to the chewing surfaces of the posterior teeth to prevent dental caries.
- A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity.
- Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue that results from plaque, other infections in the mouth and poor oral hygiene.
- Preventive Dentistry
- Preventive dentistry is the dentistry that focuses on maintaining oral health in order to prevent the spread of plaque, the formation of tartar and infections in the mouth.
- Tartar forms when plaque builds up on the surface of the teeth and calcifies into a hard surface that is much more difficult to remove and will require professional treatment.
- Tooth Enamel
- Tooth enamel is the protective visible outer surface of a tooth that contains the dentin and dental pulp.
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