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How a Dental Oral Appliance Can Treat Sleep Apnea
Have you recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea? There are various methods you could try to manage its effects and get it under control. You may be surprised to learn that your dentist can help. By wearing a mouthguard or similar oral appliance, you can breathe normally at night and reduce the effects this condition causes.
Sleep apnea: an explanation
This condition occurs when a person suddenly stops breathing during sleep. These interruptions can be as little as a few seconds but may also last a few minutes. If unidentified and untreated, this health problem can be serious. It is caused by an obstructed airway, leaving the person unable to get an adequate amount of oxygen. Usually, people will briefly wake up when breathing stops. This pattern can occur all night long, night after night.
Snoring is one of the most common signs that a person has sleep apnea. People who are unable to get a full night’s rest and feel exhausted during the day may also be struggling with this condition. Other possible symptoms include having a dry mouth and gasping for air in the night. People with this issue may also have headaches in the morning.
An oral appliance is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea. Though a doctor can suggest getting a mouthguard, many patients prefer to visit a dentist. At the dentist’s office, the patient will be fitted with a device similar to a retainer or mouthguard. The person will wear it at night while sleeping to more effectively open the airway and allow more oxygen to enter the body. The appliance keeps the jaw in a forward position and prevents it from collapsing.
Some people may suspect they have sleep apnea but are not sure whether they should visit a dentist to treat this issue. Some people are more prone to having this condition. Overweight and obese patients are more likely to have sleep apnea than patients with normal body weight. Smokers are also more prone to developing breathing problems at night. It is more common for men to struggle with this issue than women. Also, people with larger necks may have narrower airways, thus restricting airflow.
Knowing whether an oral appliance is right
Other treatments such as a CPAP machine could be effective in combating sleep apnea. Patients should meet with their dentist and discuss concerns and talk about the symptoms they are having. The dentist can decide whether an oral appliance is right. If the dentist and patient decide to pursue this treatment, the dentist will determine which style will more likely produce the right results.
Rest easy again
Everyone deserves a full night’s sleep. When you cannot breathe well at night, it is impossible to rest soundly and feel refreshed the next day. Fortunately, solutions are available. Make an appointment with your dentist today and ask whether a mouth appliance makes sense to help open your airway. Your dentist has the knowledge and training to help you put an end to snoring and the effects of sleep apnea.
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