Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be as irritating to the person suffering from the condition as it is for everyone else in the household. Its signs and symptoms can range from mild (gurgling and snoring sounds) to severe (repeated interruptions in breathing). When these symptoms are ignored or left untreated, the condition can pose a dangerous risk to your mental and physical health.
Fortunately, the symptoms are manageable and your dentist can help. During sleep, as the muscles around the throat relax, the airway can become restricted or blocked. When air moves through the nose and throat, the blockage creates vibrations that may sound like snoring, gurgling, wheezing, or choking. In addition to the bothersome sound effects, the struggle to take in oxygen can prevent you from achieving the deepest, healthiest levels of sleep. In fact, many patients report terrible sleep quality and fatigue during the day.
Traditionally, sleep apnea has been treated with an oxygen mask that can be worn at night. The mask provides a steady, gentle flow of air that can keep the airway open while you sleep. Though it is an effective solution, some patients find the mask uncomfortable and bulky.
As an effective, alternate solution, your dentist may recommend an oral appliance to maintain an open airway as you sleep. With a small, custom-fitted mouthguard, your lower jaw can be correctly positioned to allow air to pass through the throat. Rather than a mask that must be worn on the outside of the face, a mouthguard is relatively small and considerably more comfortable. That’s because, by simply holding the chin in a forward position, the tongue is also pulled forward and the airway is gently opened.
Many patients are able to find the relief that they desire with a custom mouthguard. These simple appliances can enable you to achieve deeper, more satisfying levels of sleep and prevent the damage caused by sleep apnea. They can also prevent snoring. With these advantages, you -and everyone else in your household- will sleep more comfortably.
If you suspect that you or a family member may be suffering from sleep apnea, it may be time to contact your dentist for an appointment. Don’t postpone the care that could improve your health, call Broadway Dental at 516-681-2525 today.