How Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment Works And Its Advantages Over Other Forms Of Treatment
If you suspect you have obstructive sleep apnea because you've been told you snore a lot or because you're always exhausted during the day, you should talk to your doctor about having a sleep test done. A sleep test can confirm your apnea and let your doctor know how bad it is. One treatment your doctor might suggest is a dental appliance that keeps your airway open. Here's how dental sleep apnea treatment works and why it can be a good alternative to other options.
How Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment Works
If you snore and have apnea because your tongue blocks your throat when you're deep asleep at night, then a dental appliance might help because its purpose is to pull your lower jaw forward or splint the tongue so your tongue can't block your airway. A dental appliance for sleep apnea is similar to a mouthguard that you wear when you play sports. You only have to wear it when you go to sleep, and a sleep apnea dentist custom makes the guard to fit your mouth so it isn't too uncomfortable.
Because its function is to pull your tongue forward, this type of apnea treatment is only suitable for certain causes of apnea. If your apnea is caused by something besides your tongue, your doctor may want a different type of treatment, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It's also possible your doctor will prescribe both CPAP and a dental appliance for the most effective treatment.
Why A Dental Appliance For Apnea Has Advantages
CPAP is the traditional treatment for sleep apnea, and it's effective when used properly. However, compliance is sometimes an issue. You might not get used to wearing a mask while you sleep and feeling the positive pressure against your airway. If you can't tolerate CPAP, a dental appliance could be the right option since it is so much easier to wear. Plus, if your apnea is mild, your doctor might not think you need CPAP, and in that case, the treatment of choice would probably be a dental appliance.
Another treatment consideration for obstructive sleep apnea is surgery. Wearing a dental appliance is more tolerable than having part of your tongue repositioned or removed. The availability of a dental appliance could help you avoid surgery, which is a nice benefit. Plus, the dental treatment for obstructive sleep apnea has been found effective as long as you're faithful about wearing the appliance every time you go to sleep. The appliance is small, so you can carry it in your pocket and have it handy for naps or when you travel on a plane. If you do much traveling, a dental appliance is a convenient way to stay protected while you sleep without the need to carry bulky equipment everywhere you go.