More than 18 million adults in the United States have sleep apnea, which doesn’t include the many children who also have the condition. Sleep apnea is classified as a sleep disorder, and one of the hallmarks of the problem is loud snoring. But sleep apnea goes well beyond causing your bedmate to lose sleep as it can also impact your health, which is why treating this condition is important.
At 88 Smile Designs, Dr. Edly Destine and our team offer a wide range of services that cater to most dental needs. Included in this extensive oral care are treatments for sleep apnea.
Here’s a look at how sleep apnea affects your health and how we treat the problem among our patients.
Sleep apnea 101
When we discuss sleep apnea, we’re talking about obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which the soft tissues at the back of your throat collapse, blocking your airways. When this happens, your brain is deprived of much-needed oxygen and rouses you so that you clear the airways again.
The problem with sleep apnea is that this can occur dozens of times every hour, and each time it happens, you brain wakes you enough so that you can breathe. This repeated waking not only leads to lack of sleep and daytime fatigue, but it can also have consequences where your health is concerned.
For example, sleep apnea is associated with:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Congestive heart failure
As you can see by this list, getting your sleep apnea treated is important so that you can avoid these serious complications.
Treating your sleep apnea
There are many ways you can treat sleep apnea, starting with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Though effective, these machines are cumbersome to use. For starters, you need to sleep with a mask on, which may cause discomfort. As well, the CPAP machine is powered by electricity and can make some noise. Lastly, a CPAP machine isn’t exactly convenient, especially when you travel.
Another effective treatment method for sleep apnea is an oral device, which is what we provide here at 88 Smile Designs. There are two different oral devices for sleep apnea, including:
Mandibular repositioning dental appliance
This oral device resembles a mouthguard, and it’s designed to position your lower jaw forward while you sleep. When your jaw is in this position, your airways remain clear for easier breathing.
Tongue retaining device
Another way to approach your sleep apnea is to hold your tongue forward, preventing it from blocking your airways. To do this, we custom fit a device through which you stick your tongue. The tongue retaining device holds your tongue in this forward position as you sleep.
There are many benefits to using an oral device to treat your sleep apnea, namely that the devices are easy and convenient to use.
It should be noted that if you have severe sleep apnea, an oral device may not be the best solution, and you should work with your primary care provider. However, for the millions of others with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, oral devices are often an effective solution.
If you want to give everyone a good night’s rest, please contact our office in Mount Vernon, New York, to learn more about how we treat sleep apnea.