Sleep Apnea: How Your Dentist Can Help You Sleep
Sleep is a huge part of our lives, and getting quality sleep over poor quality sleep can be life-changing for many people. According to National Sleep Foundation, 45% of Americans say that poor quality of sleep has affected their daily activities at least once in seven days.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the person to have interrupted breathing patterns during their sleep. This can be due to several reasons including:
- Obstructive sleep apnea – excessive weight or obesity, which causes the soft tissues inside the mouth to droop and block the airway
- Central sleep apnea – the brain fails to send proper signals to the body related to breathing
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome – the combination of both
How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?
The dentist can help patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea by offering dental appliances to open up the airway. These are called Jaw Advancing Device or Mandibular Advancing Device. These fit right unto your teeth as retainers or mouth guards would. The job of these appliances is to bring the jaw forward to open up the airway.
One of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. Snoring is caused by the airway being partially blocked, typically by the tongue or tonsils. By pushing the jaw forward, it reduces the air turbulence around the airway.
Is the sleep appliance for everyone?
Sleep appliances are best for patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Often times, sleep appliances are applied together with weight loss for patients. If you suffer from central sleep apnea, this will not be your form of treatment.
Before receiving sleep appliances to improve the quality of your sleep, you must consult with your physician to obtain a sleep study report. This report will inform you of the type of sleep apnea you may have.
Consequences of Sleep Appliance Therapy
Patients who use oral appliances may experience TMJ or temporal mandibular joint arthritis. Some have reported unusual sensation shortly after removing in which they have difficulty bring their teeth together. Some patients may experience teeth shifting which may require orthodontic treatment.
Be careful of using over-the-internet mouth wear products designed to help patients with sleep apnea. As they are not specifically adjusted for your mouth, they may induce unintended consequences.
How much do sleep appliances cost?
Pricing may depend on the mouthpiece you get and the number of visits you make with your doctor and dentist. Most health insurance companies can cover the costs, so be sure to consult with your healthcare insurance companies about your benefits.
John Powers, DMD has been treating patients with sleep apnea for many years. Make an appointment with Dr. Powers to consult your treatment options for your sleep problems (https://johnpowersdmd.com).