When sleep apnea occurs, the body temporarily stops breathing as you sleep. The interruption in breathing and the loss of oxygen can occur hundreds of times each night, with each episode lasting for a few seconds or several minutes. Sleep apnea is a problem that is often seen when the airway through the nose or mouth is blocked, interrupting the flow of air and frequently causing snoring.
Though it may seem surprising, an individual suffering from sleep apnea may not be aware that this life-threatening problem is taking place during the night. However, symptoms such as snoring, unsatisfying sleep, or daytime tiredness are common indicators that a problem is at hand. It is important to seek a proper diagnosis and the appropriate treatment by a specialist if you suspect this condition is to blame.
Sleep Apnea Therapy
A continuous positive airflow pressure machine is a common treatment for sleep apnea. When a face mask that is connected to a bedside machine is worn at night, a steady flow of oxygen can be pushed through the airway. Although this treatment is successful for many sufferers, some patients are unable to tolerate the nightly use of the face mask. In other cases, the apnea is too mild to warrant the use of the machine. For these patients, an oral appliance is an excellent alternative. Oral appliances are small, removable mouth pieces that are worn at night to reposition the lower jaw and tongue to a more forward position. The simple act of repositioning can help to maintain an open airway as you sleep.
Advantages of Oral Appliance therapy
The use of oral appliance therapy for mild to moderate sleep apnea cases has been proven to be successful and easily tolerated by our patients.
Oral appliances are custom-fitted in a manner that is similar to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer to:
- Reposition the tongue, soft palate, lower jaw and uvula
- Stabilize and prevent the lower jaw and tongue from relaxing during sleep
- Increase and tighten the muscle tone of the tongue
To learn more about dental devices to help manage your sleep apnea, please contact Dr. Lassle today.