(Sleep Apnea) Treatment
Struggling with insomnia and excessive snoring? Perhaps it is time to give your dentist a call! Sleep apnea is quite a serious condition that affects an individual’s breathing patterns as they sleep. There are several risks associated with sleep apnea, as it increases your risks of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and strokes. If left untreated, it can also be fatal. Although the most common treatment for this problem is CPAP pressure therapy, which involves a mask and a tube, however the method is not as convenient as it may seem – after all, who can sleep with a weighty mask on their face? Fortunately, dentistry has come out with a better alternative that is not only convenient but quite effective as well! Oral appliances for sleep apnea are small unobtrusive devices that are quite easy to wear and tend to be more effective in delivering a peaceful sleep.
Special Sleep Apnea Appliances
There are two types of dental appliances made specifically for sleep apnea – Mandibular Advanced Devices and Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces.
Mandibular advanced devices look similar to athletic mouthguards. They fit into your mouth by being snapped onto the lower and upper dental arches and have metal hinges holding the two pieces together.
These remarkable devices work by pushing the lower tongue and jaw forward, which prevents the throat muscles from collapsing back into the airway and hindering breathing.
Tongue Retaining mouthpieces are similar to MADs but the only difference is that they are placed around the tongue, preventing it from collapsing into the airway. This induces a peaceful slumber and prevents snoring.
Before the treatment options for sleep apnea can be decided, a sleep study has to be performed on the patients to analyze the severity of their symptoms.
This involves an overnight study at the clinic or a home test, which allows the doctor to determine whether or not the patient has obstructive sleep apnea. The data will then be interpreted to make an accurate diagnosis.
For patients that have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it is important to have their upper airways examined in order to find an optimal treatment option. This involves an endoscopic examination of the upper airways including the nasal cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx, and nasopharynx.
This enables the doctor to decide whether or not Mandibular Advanced Devices will be a suitable treatment option or if the patient requires surgery to treat sleep apnea.