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What Oral Appliances Are Used in Dentistry to Treat Sleep Apnea?
Anyone who has mild to moderate sleep apnea can benefit from using an oral appliance. Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when a person’s tongue or tissues around their throat restrict the flow of air to their lungs. This leads to the person’s breathing coming to a stop while they sleep, forcing their brain to wake them up to restart their breathing.
Two popular treatments used for sleep apnea are oral appliances, which help keep the airway open during sleep, and continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) machines. Dentists can help with the former.
Oral appliances used to alleviate sleep apnea
Oral appliances have high success rates when it comes to treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). They are effective for about 70% of mild cases and 60% of moderate cases. These appliances are customized for the patient and promote the proper positioning of the tongue and tissues around the throat during sleep. Popular devices used to treat sleep apnea include the following.
Mandibular advancement device (MAD)
This is the most commonly used oral appliance for sleep apnea. MADs look like the protective mouthguard that athletes wear when engaged in contact sports. These devices fit over the lower and upper sets of teeth, and a set of hinges can be used to alter how far forward the wearer’s tongue and jaw are pushed forward.
These devices are not as popular as MADs and are typically recommended when the patient’s jaw cannot be pushed forward. The appliance attaches to the wearer’s tongue via suction, and it prevents their tongue from falling into their throat while they sleep.
Oral appliances are particularly effective for people who sleep on their stomachs or backs. These appliances can also help reduce the loudness and frequency of the patient’s snoring. They are more convenient to use than CPAP machines and are easy to transport from place to place.
The use of oral appliances as a treatment for sleep apnea provides a non-invasive alternative to uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, the procedure used to remove soft tissues from the back of a person’s throat. Using oral appliances can be just as effective for many patients.
Get a customized oral appliance
Dealing with sleep apnea? Our dentist can evaluate your condition and provide you with an appropriate oral appliance that keeps prevents your tongue or soft tissues in your mouth from blocking your throat as you sleep. Our dentist can help determine if an oral appliance is the best solution for your condition or if other treatments are appropriate.
Sleep apnea should never be ignored because it can have life-threatening consequences when left untreated. It has been linked with serious physical and mental health conditions, like heart disease and depression. It also leads to a wide range of symptoms that make everyday activities a challenge, like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and a loss of motivation. Call or visit our Brooklyn clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist to get started with treatment.
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