Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance
Do you often find yourself going to bed early and reluctantly skipping out on watching juicy, late-night reality TV shows, only to wake up eight hours later exhausted when you should be fully rested and ready to meet the day head-on? Then, you might have a sleeping condition called sleep apnea. Let me elaborate on the condition a bit: Sleep apnea is a condition in which people, while sleeping, experience abnormal pauses while breathing or the frequency of their breathing becomes abnormally low. Sleepiness is one of the many symptoms of sleep apnea; no matter how many hours you spend sleeping in bed, you will feel tired throughout the entirety of the day. In addition to daytime sleepiness, common sleep apnea symptoms include loud and frequent snoring, morning headaches, choking and gasping during sleep, and even moodiness and depression.
Though sleep apnea is an unpleasant condition with a plethora of unwanted symptoms, there are several treatment options available depending on the severity of the condition. Individuals with more severe cases of sleep apnea usually undergo CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment, which can be an undesirable treatment option for many since it requires you to wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose while sleeping. For those with less severe cases, the use of a sleep apnea oral appliance will comfortably prevent symptoms.
Sleep apnea oral appliances are used to treat individuals that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles around your throat relax during sleep, this causes your airway to narrow and become partially obstructed. Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are snoring, sore throats and dry mouths. Sleep apnea oral appliances are custom made to fit comfortably during sleep. These oral appliances are designed to move your lower jaw forward, which opens your throat slightly and prevents your airway from becoming obstructed. Sleep apnea oral appliances maintain an unobstructed airway, preventing an individual from snoring, choking and gasping during sleep—it treats a majority of sleep apnea symptoms.
Similar to mouth guards that an athlete wears, oral appliances are shaped to cover teeth and fit comfortably in your mouth. With mouth guards you can simply buy one over the counter, however, with oral appliances you need to make appointments with both dental and sleep therapy professionals. Sleep apnea oral appliances can be obtained through a dentist who has had proper training in oral appliance therapy. Before receiving your oral appliance a board certified sleep medicine physician must offer a diagnosis and recommend the treatment method the best suits your needs (as mentioned before, those with severe cases of sleep apnea may not be able to use oral appliance therapy treatment). Oral appliance therapy requires continual follow-up appoints with dental and sleep professionals to monitor the status of your sleep disorder and the condition of the oral appliance.