Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The most common form of sleep apnea, is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. At Westwood Family Dental, we can correct or improve this condition with the use of an oral appliance that prevents your airway from being blocked.
Sleep Apnea has also been shown to be a cause of Bruxism, or tooth grinding. This can be of major concern and if you are waking up with a sore or tender jaw, sensitive teeth or have shooting pains in your neck or headaches, you could be suffering from sleep apnea and the associated tooth grinding.
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A custom-fit oral sleep appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health. Here are some tips you get started with this life-changing treatment.
About Oral Appliance Therapy
Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway. Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment that fits easily into your lifestyle. Patients like oral appliance therapy because it is:
- Easy to wear
- Convenient for travel
- Easy to care for
How a Dentist Can Help: The First Visit
Westwood Family Dental works closely with physicians to treat snoring and sleep apnea, as well as working directly with patients suffering from tooth grinding. At your first visit, we will talk to you about the benefits of treatment. You also will receive information on the potential side effects and the cost of therapy.
Then we will will conduct a complete clinical evaluation. This will include an examination of your teeth, jaw, tongue and airway, and possibly a new X-ray of your mouth.
Making and Fitting Your Oral Appliance
Oral appliances are customized using digital or physical impressions and models of your teeth. These models are sent to a dental lab where the appliance is made.
Once your oral appliance is ready, you will return to our office for a fitting. We will adjust the appliance to maximize its comfort and effectiveness. You also will learn how to clean the oral appliance and maintain it. After this fitting, your sleep doctor may schedule you for a sleep study to verify treatment success.
Follow-up visits with your dentist will be needed to ensure the optimal fit of the oral appliance. Effective oral appliances are always custom fit and adjusted over time to ensure maximum effectiveness. Your dentist also will schedule you for an annual assessment. These routine visits are an important part of your long-term treatment success.
Living with Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea or Snoring
Treating snoring or obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms, and your quality of life, can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. It is likely that you will sleep better, have more energy and feel sharper throughout the day. You may find that your bed partner begins to sleep better, too!
Treating sleep apnea promotes a healthier heart, body and mind. With your dentist’s help, you can improve your sleep and your health!
Do you rattle the rafters when you sleep (snoring) or do you suffer from tooth grinding or sleep apnea? If so, contact Westwood Family Dental, and let us help you identify and solve this problem. All it takes is a phone call to get started. We have two locations to serve you.