Think about how many times per day you rely on your teeth. You use them to chew breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You press your tongue against them to make certain sounds when you speak. There's really no doubt about it — your teeth are important, and they deserve your respect. You can pay them that respect by visiting your dentist for regular cleaning and checkup appointments. You should also call at the first sign of dental pain, tooth discoloration, or other oral health changes. Read more about dentists and dentistry here on this blog, where we dive deep into related topics.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The condition not only leaves you tired during the day but can also lead to medical complications. For example, it increases the risk of diabetes, heart problems, and liver problems. Below is an overview of two common treatments for sleep apnea.
Oral Appliances Use
Dentists have several oral appliances they use to treat sleep apnea. The appliances mostly work by keeping the airway open to facilitate breathing. Below are examples of such oral appliances.
Sleep occurs if the tongue's base blocks the airways and interrupts breathing. The tongue-stabilizing device (TSD) solves the problem by using suction to pull the tongue forward as you sleep. You can use stock or customized TSD.
Mandibular Advancement Device
The mandibular advancement device (MAD) connects the upper and lower teeth. Some people also call MAD mandibular advancement splint (MAS) or mandibular protrusion device. MAD extends your jaw and reduces breathing lapses, volume, and frequency. You fit the device, which looks like a mouth guard, on your mouth before you sleep and remove it upon waking up.
Rapid Maxillary Expansion
Sleep apnea occurs in multiple ways. One is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when something physically blocks the airways during sleep. For example, some children have highly arched or narrow airways that restrict the airway.
A rapid maxillary expansion (RME) device treats OSA by expanding the roof of the mouth. The affected child has to wear an RME at all times, unlike other apnea treatment devices that users only wear at night.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine works by pushing pressurized air through the nose and mouth. The pressure prevents the throat muscles from collapsing and preventing breathing during sleep. Some CPAPs cover the mouth and nose, while others only cover the nose.
Surgery is an intrusive treatment, so it's not normally the first treatment choice. Your dentist may prescribe surgery if other treatments fail. Surgical options include:
The treatment depends on the type and extent of the sleep apnea.
You don't have to live with sleep apnea and suffer its complications. Consult your dentist for diagnosis and treatment to enable you to live your life to the fullest.Share