Recent years have seen significant improvements in the efficacy of sleep apnea treatment with dental appliances. Some patients find that continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machines are not for them, others claim that they are too uncomfortable to use. Thankfully, oral appliances can be used in instead of a CPAP machine for those who cannot tolerate CPAP treatment.
There is a good reason to be concerned about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea, in particular, can cause deadly consequences in certain cases, especially if it occurs in a patient with severe asthma or congestive heart failure, or other cardiac or respiratory issues. To really comprehend how a dentist can assist you with sleep apnea, you must first understand the illness.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that disrupts normal breathing patterns during sleep. The lack of air and disrupted slumber cause tiredness and concentration problems the next day. There are three different types of sleep apnea, but the most frequent form is obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a blocked airway. Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by a variety of factors, but a few of them include the shape of the jaw, lifestyle habits, and being overweight.
When you fall into a state of deep sleep, your tongue and jaw muscles fully relax. For many people, this isn’t a problem, but for those with narrow airways or airways prone to collapse, it can cause serious health issues. For these individuals, when their airway muscles relax, collapse occurs and blocks the airway to interfere with breathing while asleep.
When someone stops breathing, the brain typically responds with an automatic reaction. Some people will roll over and continue to sleep, oblivious to the fact that their breathing had stopped during the night. Sleep apnea disrupts sound sleep and, over time, can cause issues with several organ systems and the immune system as a result. If you don’t intervene, this vicious cycle will continue. A dentist can assist you in treating your sleep apnea to ensure that your airway remains open throughout the night, and you get a good night’s sleep.
What Are Additional Problems Caused by Sleep Apnea?
Among the unwelcome effects of sleep apnea are:
- Waking abruptly
- Broken sleep
- Sore throat
- Loud snoring
- Higher risk of stroke
- Higher risk of cardiovascular problems
- Troubles concentrating
- Memory problems
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
Who Can Get Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, but there are some situations that put certain people at greater risk. A family history of sleep apnea dramatically raises the likelihood of developing it. Even if you don’t have a family history of sleep apnea, there are certain circumstances that increase your risk. You are at the greatest risk of developing sleep apnea if you are an obese male over the age of 40. Certain physical traits also place people at a higher risk including having a deviated septum and as previously mentioned, small jawbones, or a larger tongue.
Not All Sleep Apnea Sufferers Can Tolerate CPAP
For decades, CPAP (constant positive air pressure) equipment has been the standard treatment for sleep apnea, with few alternatives. cpap machine utilize air pressure to push the tongue forward and prevent obstructions in the back of the throat.
Unfortunately, for many individuals, the CPAP equipment may be quite uncomfortable since it is connected to a nosepiece that covers the entire nose. The nosepiece may be extremely unpleasant and disrupt sleep. In some situations, when connecting the equipment to a sufferer’s nose is impossible, a full facemask is used, which might also be distressing for many patients.
The good news is that there are options for those who have sleep apnea and can’t use CPAP machines due to a variety of factors, ranging from noise to chafing. In the area of sleep dentistry, advances have been made in producing dental solutions for sleep apnea. They might assist you in finding a safe and successful oral sleep therapy. The majority of this development has been due to the usage of oral appliances. This dental equipment is FDA approved and are the answer for sufferers of sleep apnea who cannot use a CPAP machine.
How Do Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Work?
There are a few distinct types of FDA-approved oral appliances that can be used to treat sleep apnea. The most popular and usually the most efficient is mouthpieces. These dental devices resemble an athletic mouthpiece, which is used to protect teeth from trauma. When inserted, the mouthpiece moves the jaw forward. The upper airway is treated by reducing air resistance and widening the airway by way of this gadget. Mouthpieces also help to prevent deep snoring since they reduce airway vibration that causes the problem. Each mouthpiece is made to fit a unique sufferer of sleep apnea. It can also be used to improve CPAP therapy.
Jeffrey W. Cross, D.D.S., F.A.G.D, an Expert in Dental Sleep Medicine
Jeffrey W. Cross, D.D.S., F.A.G.D, has the experience, and qualifications to treat your sleep apnea. Dr. Cross understands how difficult everyday life can be for those who have sleep apnea. Since 2005, he has been offering effective dental sleep therapies by treating Sleep Apnea with oral appliance treatment. Both the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorder Disciplines have accepted Dr. Cross as a member. He has gathered hundreds of hours of relevant training and strives to stay up with the newest treatments and technology for sleep apnea with oral appliances.
Contact us immediately if you are currently suffering from sleep apnea and want to try something different than CPAP. Call (301) 662-0300 or fill out our simple online contact form today. A member of Dr. Cross’s staff will contact you to schedule an appointment to speak about how we can assist with sleep apnea. Don’t allow yourself to snore or gasp for air through another sleepless night. Dr. Cross can help you get your sleep apnea under control with an oral appliance.