Oral Appliances and Mouthpieces can help with a number of sleep problems.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition that can cause jaw pain and tooth damage. Teeth with large cavity fillings are especially susceptible to grinding and can shatter while sleeping, necessitating costly crown work. Learn about dental devices that help protect your teeth from harm caused by grinding and clenching while you sleep by clicking here.
Another common condition that can be managed with a mouthpiece is snoring. Many people, as well as their sleep-deprived partners, have found relief with snoring devices. There are several options to pick from, and they are available without a prescription.
Mouthpieces can also be used as a sleep apnea treatment option to CPAP. Sleep apnea is a significant medical disorder that can cause heart disease and stroke if left untreated. Dentists make sleep apnea mouth guards using a plastic-like mold that molds to the contour of the patient's teeth and mouth. Not only do oral devices help with sleep apnea, but they can also help with snoring.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
You already know how important a good night's sleep is for good health. It makes you feel refreshed and ready to face the challenges of life. Despite this, many people do not get enough sleep. This is sometimes linked to sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) — either their own or those of their sleeping partners.
Recurrent episodes of decreased or interrupted respiratory airflow characterize SRBD. This is caused by soft tissues towards the back of the throat collapsing and partially closing up the windpipe while sleeping. These tissues, such as the tongue, can vibrate as air passes by, resulting in snoring. Sleeping on one's back can exacerbate snoring because it promotes the lower jaw to slip back, pushing the tongue in front of the airway.
Loud snoring frequently wakes up the person in the bed who isn't snoring, depriving him or her of essential sleep. On the other side, the snorer may appear to be sleeping comfortably, although this is not always the case. Chronic loud snoring is a common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA; “a” – without; “pnea” – breath), which happens when the upper airway is closed to the extent that there is no airflow for 10 seconds or longer. Reduced airflow through the lungs lowers blood-oxygen levels, which can be harmful.
A person with sleep apnea may wake up 50 or more times each hour — nearly once every minute! — with no recollection of anything. Micro-arousals are brief awakenings that only last long enough to restore muscular tone to the airway, allowing the person to breathe. Unfortunately, all of those micro-arousals keep you from getting a good night's sleep.
What to Look Out For If You Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Apnea is a dangerous condition that can cause heart difficulties and other complications. If you snore and have one or more of the following symptoms, you may have OSA.
- Excessive drowsiness during the day
- Confusion/poor memory
- Proclivity to accidents
- Sweats at night
- Headaches in the morning
- Blood pressure that is too high
What Yamaguchi Family Dentistry Can Do For You
You're probably thinking to yourself, "What does my Dr. Garret have to do with any of this?"
Here's how it works: Snoring or sleep apnea can occasionally be addressed using an oral appliance, which is meant to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep and is available at our dental office. The tongue is moved away from the back of the throat by this displacement of the jaw, lowering the risk of obstruction.
This treatment is backed by a lot of scientific evidence, so it's a smart option to try before going on to more complicated breathing equipment or throat surgery to remove excess tissue.
Oral Appliance Therapy, which is used to treat SRBD, can only be made, fitted, adjusted, monitored, and treated by a dentist. So, if you or a loved one are suffering any of the above signs and symptoms, it's a good idea to schedule an appointment with a dentist.
Schedule Your Appointment at Yamaguchi Family Dentistry
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If you have any questions or this is an immediate need, please call us at (360) 943-9480.