Millions of people suffer from the negative effects of sleep apnea. Today, your dentist can provide the effective treatment for these negative effects with sleep apnea dentistry. This advanced treatment provides solutions to this common condition that can reduce symptoms and help you rest better at night. As many people have not historically thought that their dentist could help with sleep apnea, there are common questions that are often asked regarding sleep apnea dentistry, a few of which we will look to address here:
What is dental sleep apnea therapy?
In dental sleep apnea therapy, dentists use oral appliances to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. They select, fit and use oral appliances that are specially designed to open the airways while you sleep.
What types of oral appliances are available?
The most commonly used oral appliance for sleep apnea is a mandibular repositioning appliance (MRA). These appliances look a bit like mouth guards used during sports, and they reposition the lower jaw and gently pull the tongue forward to open the airways.
Tongue retaining appliances (TRAs) use a suction bulb to stop the tongue from collapsing and obstructing the airways while sleeping.
What are the benefits of using oral appliances for sleep apnea?
Oral appliance therapy is non-invasive and completely reversible, and most patients find the appliances easy to wear and comfortable. The majority of patients fully adjust to wearing the appliances within a couple of weeks. Oral appliances are also much smaller and more convenient than CPAP machines, making them ideal for traveling.
Am I a candidate for sleep apnea dentistry?
You may be a candidate for sleep apnea dentistry if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea and if your symptoms have not improved with a CPAP machine.
So if you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea or the level of snoring is preventing you from sleeping soundly as night, talk with your dentist about the questions you have, and see how dentists now play an important role to recognize, manage, and treat snoring and sleep apnea. You can also refer to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for more information.