An oral appliance can improve your sleep and quality of life by treating your obstructive sleep apnea. These appliances can help to effectively maintain an open upper airway. They are mostly recommended for the treatment of mild or moderate cases of sleep apnea. Custom-made oral appliances have become more popular due to a number of…
How a Dentist Can Treat Sleep Apnea
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, over 25 million individuals in the United States have sleep apnea. The figures are mind-boggling and the health implications are grave. Fortunately, people diagnosed with sleep apnea today have more treatment choices than ever before. The health concerns linked with OSA can be reduced with appropriate therapy. Continue reading to find out how dentists can help treat sleep apnea symptoms.
How a dentist treats sleep apnea
Dentists often specialize in treating loud snoring and sleep apnea, a field called dental sleep medicine. Dentists who have received special training in this sector work to develop the optimal treatment strategy for a patient's sleep problem. They frequently use oral appliance treatment to help patients manage their snoring and OSA symptoms. Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and tongue-retaining mouthpieces are two dental appliances that may be recommended in conjunction with CPAP devices for sleep apnea treatment.
Mandibular advancement devices
MADs resemble athletic mouthguards and are worn over the upper and lower teeth. The two trays are connected with a hinge in the center. During the night, this device keeps the lower jaw and tongue in a slightly forward posture. When the soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat relax during sleep, it helps keep the airway open. The dentist may adjust the position and fit of MADs to improve comfort and efficacy.
Tongue-retaining mouthpieces may be beneficial for sleep apnea patients with limited jaw flexibility. During sleep, these oral devices prevent the tongue from sliding back into the airway. It wraps over the tongue and uses a light suction force to keep it in place.
Integration of dental devices with sleep apnea treatment
Patients need to discuss their symptoms with the dentist during the initial consultation for effective sleep apnea treatment. The diagnosis should then be confirmed.
CPAP therapy is suggested as the primary therapeutic strategy for most patients with sleep apnea. A CPAP machine, which delivers a constant stream of compressed air throughout the night, is the most effective approach to help someone with moderate to severe OSA. Patients with mild sleep apnea may benefit from oral devices such as the MAD and the tongue-retaining mouthpiece. A combination of an oral device and a CPAP machine may be necessary for effective therapy.
Visit a dentist for sleep apnea treatment
Patients should only use oral appliances if the physician recommends them as part of their OSA treatment strategy. General dentists specializing in sleep medicine offer these devices and follow up with their patients to assist them in modifying their treatment plans as required.
Sleep apnea therapy using over-the-counter devices is never advisable. Even though these options are less expensive and more widely available, they frequently only treat symptoms such as snoring. Oral devices sold over the counter often fail to prevent the severe apnea that occurs during sleep. If you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, consult the dentist about your concerns.
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