Sleep Apnea Treatment - Phoenix

Better Sleep Thanks to Better Breathing

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes breathing to pause repeatedly during sleep, interrupting rest and leading to drowsiness during the day. Obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway becomes blocked, likely affects up to 20 percent of the adult population.

Though familiar, sleep apnea can prove challenging to treat. The most common treatment method is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which keeps the airway open during the night. However, many people struggle to use these devices and end up using nothing to assist with their sleep disorder. Thankfully for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, alternative treatments exist.

Oral appliances offer one alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. By positioning the jaw and tongue to prevent blockage of the airway, these mouthpieces help some patients breathe easier.

The highly trained dentists at AZ Family Dental have the expertise necessary to create custom oral appliances for treating sleep apnea. Patients from the Greater Phoenix, AZ, area can discover the treatment that’s right for them at our dental offices.

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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 mouthguards, 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.

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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

What is the best treatment for sleep apnea?

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.

Can you get rid of sleep apnea naturally?

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.

What happens if sleep apnea is untreated?

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.