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How Does an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea Work?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder that is treated using oral appliance therapy. It occurs when your regular breathing is interrupted when you are sleeping. Sleep apnea affects people of all ages. If a person does not seek treatment for the condition, it can lead to several health problems, including high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, diabetes and depression. However, this treatment is not suitable for every person with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People are often advised to always consult a qualified doctor to find out if an oral appliance will help and if they are good candidates for them.
Oral appliance therapy
OSA, a common type of sleep apnea, happens due to a blockage of the airway, often when the soft tissue at the back of a person’s throat ends up collapsing during sleep. Oral appliances are a good option for people who have mild or moderate OSA or snoring. These devices can hold the tongue in place to ensure that the airway remains open during sleep. A patient is supposed to place the dental device into the mouth at night just before going to bed. It should be worn while sleeping and taken out when a person wakes up.
Oral appliances can effectively pull or push the lower jaw forward. This helps ensure that the tongue will not block the airway. It basically reduces the likelihood of the tongue obstructing the airway when a person is sleeping and the risk of snoring. These devices have helped many people deal with snoring problems.
How to make sure an oral appliance is working
If an oral appliance is working well, a person will sleep better and have more energy. An oral appliance may improve symptoms of OSA like daytime sleepiness, fatigue, moodiness and trouble concentrating. A repeat overnight sleep study offers a good way of figuring out if an oral appliance is helping a patient. This should be carried out with the dental device in place. If the results of the study are good, a patient will be advised to continue using the oral appliance. In a case where the symptoms return, a person should schedule an appointment with either the doctor or dentist.
Treating OSA using oral appliances can help a patient’s sleep problem. Oral appliances are usually effective when a person has moderate or mild sleep apnea. These devices help patients by improving symptoms associated with OSA. However, not every patient can get the same benefits from oral appliances. For these patients, other treatment options are needed.
Oral appliances can help shift and support the jaw in order to ensure the airway does not collapse. Keeping your throat open can help relieve your sleep apnea. Treating your obstructive sleep apnea and snoring can improve your quality of life especially if you continue wearing the oral appliance. With the help of your dentist, you can improve your sleep and your overall health. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, talk to your dentist or doctor for more information.
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