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FAQs About Sleep Medicine Oral Appliance Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated effectively. The longer you wait to address this issue, the biggest risks you will have. You could develop other health problems, including cardiovascular troubles. Fortunately, there are ways that you can treat this illness and overcome its symptoms. Your dentist may recommend wearing an oral appliance while you sleep. Before you start this treatment, the dentist will explain what will take place and what the benefits will be.
Avoiding sleep apnea
Certain types of people have a higher risk of developing this disease than others. Lifestyle factors can play a role, so there are things people can do to stay away from this condition. Obesity and being overweight increase a person’s chances of having the illness. Exercising and eating right can control weight effectively.
Limiting or avoiding alcohol will also help to prevent sleep apnea. Not smoking will also remove risk factors. However, age and genetics can also contribute to having this condition. So, for some people it is difficult or impossible to stay away from.
The dentist is a good resource
Many people think first of a sleep doctor or a general physician to treat sleep apnea. While these health professionals can diagnose the condition and treat it, a dentist will usually take a different approach. Doctors often turn to CPAP machines or surgery to improve airflow. However, the dentist prefers oral appliances. To decide whether this makes sense for the patient, the dentist will examine them, looking for blockage in the airway due to excess tissue in the mouth or throat. The dentist can custom-make an oral device that fits over the person’s jaw.
Worn only during sleep
Unlike dentures, retainers, or other common oral appliances, apparatuses to treat sleep apnea are for sleep time use only. The patient will put in the appliance before going to bed. A tongue depressor holds the tongue in place, keeping it from moving to the back of the mouth and blocking the airway. A mouthguard pushes the jaw down and forward, opening the airway more and preventing the restriction of airflow.
Not as invasive
CPAP machines can be effective at opening the airway and promoting proper breathing during the night. Many people do not prefer this treatment for sleep apnea, though, because it includes a lot of equipment. With an oral appliance, the wearer will not have to worry about machinery and extra cords and hoses. Storage and transportation is a non-issue with oral appliances. People who are camping or traveling can enjoy these benefits.
Talk to the dentist
You should pay attention to the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. If you believe you have this condition, make an appointment with your sleep medicine dentist right away. After a thorough examination, the dentist can confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment. By wearing an oral appliance while you sleep, you can open the previously blocked airway and breathe well at night once again. As a result, you can avoid many of the health problems that this condition can cause.
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