Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with sleep apnea stop repeatedly breathing during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. As a result, they don't get enough oxygen, and their sleep is disrupted.
If you snore, you are not alone. Snoring can be a sign of a larger problem known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a common sleep disorder that disrupts your breathing while you sleep. Snoring is caused by the blockage of your airway. This blockage causes the soft tissues in the back of your throat to vibrate as you breathe, resulting in snoring.
Types of Sleep/Snore Appliances
Here are ways to treat your snoring issue:
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)
A mandibular advancement device is a custom-made oral appliance designed to hold a patient's jaw forward during sleep, thereby preventing the tongue from collapsing back into the throat and blocking the airway. Mandibular advancement devices are also effective for opening an air passage to allow for easier breathing. This treatment is often used to treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea and snoring. Although it can treat both conditions, it is typically prescribed as a treatment for the former rather than the latter.
Mandibular advancement devices are typically made of acrylic or similar rigid material and fit over the upper and lower teeth like a sports mouth guard. They are designed to be worn at night when symptoms are most severe.
Tongue Retaining Devices (TRDs)
Tongue-retaining devices are worn in the mouth while you sleep. They hold the tongue forward, which opens up the airway and helps to prevent snoring. TRDs are custom-made to fit your mouth and are usually made of acrylic or soft plastic. Most patients adjust to wearing these devices within a week or two.
Many patients who have mild sleep apnea find tongue-retaining devices to be very effective for treating their condition. However, patients with more severe sleep apnea may need to use other devices in addition to using a TRD. For some patients, using special pillows or cushions on top of the head can help improve open airways and prevent snoring.
Apnea Oral Appliance
An apnea oral appliance is a mouthpiece worn at night to prevent mild or moderate airway obstruction and snoring. It fits over the teeth and prevents the tongue from blocking the throat, which is the cause of sleep apnea sufferers waking up frequently throughout the night. The device is custom-made to fit comfortably in your mouth. The appliance is small, portable, and easy to use while sleeping. Most patients adjust to wearing the device within a few weeks.
At Sunset Oak Dental, Dr. Felahy, our family dentist, shares with his patients the best practices and services related to dental hygiene. We are happy to serve patients in the areas including Rocklin 95765, Roseville 95677, Lincoln 95765, Penryn 95663, and Loomis 95650 in California. You can schedule an online appointment using our website or call us at (916) 435-5111, and our dental team will be happy to help you maintain a great smile.