Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes breathing interruptions during sleep. A blockage in your airway or your tongue falling back over your windpipe can keep you from breathing properly, causing you to snore and stop breathing for a few moments at a time.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open despite breathing efforts. During an episode of sleep apnea, you may experience a temporary interruption in breathing that can last for several seconds. These episodes disrupt normal sleep patterns and can occur multiple times throughout the night, leading to fragmented and poor-quality sleep.
At Worden Dentistry, our dentist creates custom-made appliances for sleep apnea that can help relieve symptoms and allow you to improve your sleep and quality of life.
The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. Breathing interruptions during sleep also cause daytime fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Other symptoms include waking up gasping for air or having a choking sensation, waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat, morning headaches, and fatigue despite sleeping enough hours.
Symptoms are typically worse when lying on your back. Some people with sleep apnea will wake up frequently during the night. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to other serious health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. This is why it's important to visit a dentist if you believe you may have obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep appliances, also known as oral appliances, are dental devices used to treat sleep-related breathing disorders, particularly obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring. These appliances are designed to be worn in the mouth during sleep and are intended to help keep the airway open, improve breathing, and promote better sleep quality.
Sleep appliances work by repositioning the lower jaw and sometimes the tongue to prevent the collapse or narrowing of the upper airway during sleep. By advancing the jaw slightly forward, these devices help to increase the space at the back of the throat, reducing the likelihood of airway obstruction and breathing disturbances.
Types of Sleep Appliances
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)
MADs are designed to reposition the lower jaw (mandible) slightly forward, which helps to increase the space at the back of the throat and reduce airway obstruction. MADs typically consist of separate upper and lower trays that fit over the teeth and are connected by hinges or other mechanisms. The advancement of the lower jaw can be adjusted to find the optimal position for each individual.
It's important to note that the choice of sleep appliance depends on several factors, including the patient’s specific condition, the severity of the sleep disorder, anatomical considerations, and personal preferences. For more information, visit Worden Dentistry at 2336 Aberdeen Dr, Tyler, TX 75703, or call (903) 581-1646.