Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder marked by interruptions and pauses in breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by obstructions in the airway, such as the tongue rolling back in the throat or collapsed tissues in the airway. Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to several serious health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and liver problems.
Sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a sleep physician. We recommend that you talk to our dentist, as well as your physician, if you suffer from the symptoms of sleep apnea. Common signs of sleep apnea include:
Sleep apnea treatment depends on the severity of your condition. Oral appliance therapy is often recommended for mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring disorders. Sleep apnea and snoring occur when the airway is obstructed. In the case of someone with sleep apnea, breathing may stop entirely for a few moments. Airway obstructions are typically caused by the soft tissues of the throat “collapsing” or the tongue rolling back to block the throat and airway. Oral appliance therapy works to help keep the airways open so that you can breathe normally while asleep.
Your oral appliance is a special, custom-made mouth guard. It is designed to fit your mouth perfectly and works by advancing the lower jaw slightly forward into a comfortable position. This forward movement tightens the soft tissues and muscles of the upper airway, preventing them from vibrating and from becoming an obstruction to your airway while you sleep. Oral appliances also help the tissues at the back of your throat relax and stop your tongue from rolling back. This gives you a safe and soundless sleep so that you can get the rest you need and enjoy better overall health.
For more information about oral appliance therapy and to schedule a consultation with our dentist, contact our office today. We are committed to your overall health and well-being.