How Oral Appliances Help With Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances are typically plastic acrylic mouthpieces that fit over the teeth and adjust the position of the tongue or jaw to hold the airway open while you’re asleep. To accomplish this goal, an oral appliance may pull your jaw forward slightly or hold the tongue forward in the mouth. Over several months, one of our dentists may adjust the appliance or tighten it to help you get the most benefit.
Though oral appliances for sleep apnea may look similar to other types of mouth guards, it’s essential to get one that’s custom-made for your teeth and bite. Improper fit can move the teeth in unintended ways or lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Working with the qualified dentists at AZ Family Dental will help ensure that your oral appliance treats sleep apnea effectively without causing harm to your dental health.
If you think you might benefit from an oral appliance, our dentists would be happy to help. We can assess your candidacy for this form of treatment, and create custom oral appliances by measuring the positioning of your teeth, and we will follow up with you after you start using an oral appliance to make adjustments.
Why You Might Work With a Dentist for Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances can provide symptom relief for individuals with sleep apnea, particularly when they’re fitted by an experienced dentist. However, other treatments may prove more beneficial for some people. You may choose to work with the dentists at AZ Family Dental for sleep apnea if:
- You have mild or moderate sleep apnea
- You’ve tried using CPAP without success
- Your sleep apnea occurs only when you lie on your back
Along with your primary doctor and sleep specialist, one of our dentists can help you decide whether an oral appliance could be the right fit.
Frequently Asked Questions for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is considered the most effective treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP is a machine that applies light air pressure to the upper respiratory tract to keep your breathing airways open as you sleep. Doctors typically offer CPAP upfront when diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
While some people may require further treatment, sleep apnea may be treatable naturally through lifestyle and behavioral changes.
– Some ways your sleep apnea may improve include:
– Changing sleep positions
– Eliminating alcohol, smoking, and certain medications
– Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight
– Using a humidifier
Taking part in yoga, mindfulness, and meditation
If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, these remedies may only work temporarily or not at all. In that case, it’s recommended you seek help from a healthcare provider to begin professional treatment.
Studies have shown that untreated sleep apnea can shorten your life by 12 to 15 years. Weight gain and aging are the two main factors that worsen sleep apnea and impact a person’s life span. Even so, with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, you can avoid sleep apnea from shortening life expectancy.
Yes, untreated sleep apnea worsens in those who already have the condition and is commonly developed in older age. Likewise, long-term lifestyle and behavioral patterns can increase breathing difficulties and contribute to the severity of sleep apnea. With the right treatments and lifestyle, you can suppress symptoms and avoid the full impact of sleep apnea.
There is no cure for sleep apnea, and if left untreated, can worsen, especially if you continue leading a lifestyle that contributes to the condition. With proper treatments, you can significantly reduce the effects of sleep apnea and increase your quality of life.
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8519 N 59th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85302, United States
28255 N Tatum Blvd Suite 4, Cave Creek, AZ 85331, United States
1820 W Thunderbird Rd suite 1, Phoenix, AZ 85023, United States