More than 18 million adults in the United States have sleep apnea, not including the many children who also suffer from this condition. One of the hallmarks of sleep apnea is loud snoring. But that — and the annoyance it has on your spouse or roommate — is minor compared to the impact sleep apnea can have on your health.
Here’s a look at how sleep apnea affects your health and how we treat the problem among our patients.
Sleep apnea 101
When we discuss sleep apnea, we’re talking about obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the soft tissues at the back of your throat collapse, blocking your airways. When this happens, your brain is deprived of much-needed oxygen and rouses you so that you clear the airways again.
The problem with sleep apnea is that this can occur dozens of times every hour, and each time it happens, your brain wakes you enough so that you can breathe. This repeated waking leads to a lack of sleep and daytime fatigue and can also affect your health.
For example, sleep apnea is associated with the following:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack,
- Congestive heart failure
As you can see by this list, getting your sleep apnea treated is essential so that you can avoid these severe complications.
Treating your sleep apnea
You can treat sleep apnea in many ways, starting with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Though effective, these machines could be more convenient to use. For starters, you must sleep with a mask, which may cause discomfort. The CPAP machine is also powered by electricity and can make some noise. Lastly, a CPAP machine isn’t exactly convenient, especially when you travel.
Another treatment many patients prefer is a custom oral device.
We offer two types:
Mandibular repositioning dental appliance
This oral device resembles a mouthguard, designed to position your lower jaw forward while you sleep. When your jaw is in this position, your airways remain clear for easier breathing.
Tongue retaining device
Another way to approach your sleep apnea is to hold your tongue forward, preventing it from blocking your airways. To do this, we custom-fit a device through which you stick your tongue. The tongue-retaining device holds your tongue in this forward position as you sleep.
There are many benefits to using an oral device to treat your sleep apnea, namely, the devices are easy and convenient.
If you have severe sleep apnea, an oral device may not be the best solution, and you should work with your primary care provider. However, oral devices are often an effective solution for millions of others with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea.
To learn more about our sleep apnea solutions, contact Restora Dental Arts by phone or use our online feature to request an appointment today.