Are you among the 90 million adults in America that snore? Although minor factors such as your sleeping position can contribute to this unpleasant condition, snoring may actually be an indicator of a more serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. A variety of options are available for sleep apnea treatment, including the use of oral appliance therapy. For some sleep apnea sufferers, relief comes in the form of a doctor’s diagnosis and a custom-fitted oral appliance from your dentist.

Is Oral Appliance Therapy Right for You?

Sleep apnea is described as repeated pauses in breathing that take place as you sleep. This can lead to many restless nights for you and your partner. If you or your partner recognizes possible signs of sleep apnea, contact your doctor who will assess the severity of your problems and determine whether or not oral appliance therapy is right for you. Signs of sleep apnea may include:

  • Snoring
  • Interrupted breathing
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced day-to-day function

How an Oral Appliance Can Prevent Health Problems

Oral appliances work by repositioning the jaw and tongue, eliminating airway constriction. If your doctor determines that you require an oral appliance for snoring or for sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Symptoms of sleep apnea include tell-tale signs of sleep deprivation that include fatigue, drowsiness, lack of focus and irritability.

Factors that contribute to snoring and sleep apnea are:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Weight Gain
  • Body Posture
  • Use of Alcohol
  • Nasal Blockage
  • Asthma
  • Smoking

Common sleep apnea oral appliances include:

Mandibular advancement device – Also referred to as (MAD), this appliance fits over the top and bottom rows of teeth. It works by easing your lower jaw forward in order to prevent your tongue from obstructing your airway.

Tongue retaining device – This appliance works by holding the tongue forward to prevent it from falling backward and restricting your airway when you sleep.

Because many dentists specialize in dental sleep apnea treatment, your dentist may be able to recognize potential signs of sleep apnea when you visit their office. If this is the case, your dentist may suggest that you speak with your physician about this medical condition. The two can then work in conjunction to provide you with trusted care and eliminate the symptoms of the sleeping disorder.

Have oral appliance therapy questions? Speak with one of the knowledgeable dentists at Covington Center for Family Dentistry. Our experienced dentists will provide you with information regarding sleep disorders and discuss your treatment options. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (678) 306-6000.

We look forward to getting to know you and your family!