What Is Sleep Apnea and How Do Dental Appliances Help?

Dental Appliances

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep, which can cause various health problems. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive (OSA) and central (CSA). In OSA, the airway becomes blocked, often due to relaxed throat muscles or excess tissue in the throat. In CSA, the brain fails to send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.

OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea, affecting nearly 25% of men and 10% of women. It is characterized by explosive snores, grunts, gasps, dry mouth when you wake up, restlessness during sleep, or headaches. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Fortunately, there are treatments available to help manage sleep apnea. One of the most effective and non-invasive options is the use of dental appliances.

Keep reading to understand how dental appliances help sleep apnea.

What Are Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea?

Dental appliances for sleep apnea are custom-made devices designed to keep the airway open during sleep. They work by holding the jaw in a forward position, which prevents the tongue and soft tissues in the throat from collapsing and blocking the airway. This allows for uninterrupted breathing during sleep, improving sleep quality and reducing the risk of health problems associated with sleep apnea.

There are several types of dental appliances for sleep apnea, but the most common is the mandibular advancement device (MAD). This device looks similar to a sports mouthguard and is worn over the teeth during sleep. It has metal hinges that allow the lower jaw to be gently pushed forward, opening the airway.

Other dental appliances include tongue retaining devices which hold the tongue in a forward position to keep it from obstructing the airway, and palatal expansion devices, which widen the upper airway by expanding the palate.

Benefits of Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Dental appliances offer several benefits for people with sleep apnea. First and foremost, they are highly effective in treating mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. They are also easy to use and do not require any surgery or medication. Additionally, they are non-invasive and do not cause discomfort or side effects associated with other treatments.

Furthermore, dental appliances are highly customizable, and each device is tailored to the specific needs of the individual. They can be adjusted over time to ensure optimal comfort and effectiveness. They are also easy to clean and maintain, and most devices last several years with proper care.

What Is the Treatment Process?

If your dentist thinks an oral device can help you, they will make a copy of your teeth. Then, they'll make the device and call you back to try it on. They'll also give you a tool to realign your bite in the morning after you use the device. The dentist will also explain how to use and clean the device. Sometimes, you may have to revisit the dentist to adjust the device.

If you think you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, check with the East Lansing Modern Dental dentists to see if a dental appliance might be right for you. With the help of a dental appliance, you can enjoy improved sleep quality and reduce the risk of health problems associated with sleep apnea. Contact us today for more information.