Over half of all Americans suffer from frequent snoring. For many who do, their snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is responsible for a number of health issues, ranging from simple fatigue to debilitating heart problems. Fortunately, there are various treatments available for obstructive sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy from your local dentist.
This disorder results from the air passages in the mouth or throat becoming obstructed, blocking airflow to the lungs. This decreases oxygen levels in the blood, preventing vital organs from getting the oxygen needed to function.
When this occurs, the brain panics the body awake, interrupting rest and leading to fatigue and morning headaches. If left untreated, other health complications can develop over time, including obesity, short-term memory loss, heart problems, and stroke.
Usually, obstructive sleep apnea is treated with a CPAP device. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and involves the use of a breathing mask hooked up to a machine which pushes pressurized air into the windpipe, keeping it open.
This option is very uncomfortable, and is often intolerable for a significant portion of those who suffer from sleep apnea. Fortunately, it is not the only option for treatment available. Your dentist can provide a simpler, less invasive solution for your sleep apnea.
Using an oral appliance can help take the weight off your throat and allow you to breathe freely at night again, eliminating snoring and airway blockages. There are many appliances available on the market, each with varying degrees of quality, comfort, and effectiveness. These have a number of advantages over CPAP, including:
- Comfort: No tubes or masks. Just a custom-fitted appliance fitted into your mouth.
- Ease of use: Just pop it in your mouth before you go to sleep. In the morning, remove it.
- Portable: It’s easier to carry around with you, which is especially helpful if you travel frequently.
- Quiet: None of the machines or pressurized air that give CPAP devices the nickname “Darth Vader mask.”
Oral appliances are worn in the mouth and hold the lower jaw forward. This keeps throat muscles and your tongue from falling backward into the throat and blocking the upper airway, allowing for unobstructed breathing. While CPAP devices usually have an advantage of overall effectiveness, a custom-fitted oral appliance can still be helpful for those unable to tolerate the mask.
Dr. Lynn custom fits each appliance to the patient’s needs with the right selection of brand and 3D imaging technology. To learn more about how Dr. Lynn can help you treat your sleep apnea, contact Lynn Dental Care today.