ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY

Getting quality sleep every night is essential to your health. Sleep provides your body with the rest it needs to repair and recharge. Poor sleep every night will quickly lead to a deterioration of your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Feeling exhausted day in and day out will begin to take its toll, making it difficult to perform even basic tasks. Consistent, poor sleep can be a sign of a condition known as sleep apnea. National Dental Oakland Gardens can help with oral appliance therapy.

WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects the quality of your sleep. Typically, as you sleep, you experience different sleep cycles. Going through these cycles helps you to get the rest you need. When these cycles are disrupted, so, too, is the quality of your sleep. When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing for several seconds (sometimes as long as 90 seconds), several times a night. When you stop breathing, you wake up (even if you are completely unaware of it). These episodes are known as apneic events. Sleep apnea ranges from mild (5 to 14 apneic events per sleeping hour) to severe (more than 30 apneic events per sleeping hour), and there are three different types:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea. This is the most common type. With OSA, your airway is blocked, either by your tongue or other excess oral tissues.
  • Central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea happens when your brain fails to communicate with the muscles that control your breathing.
  • Complex, or mixed, sleep apnea. This is a mixture of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea has many symptoms associated with it. The most common symptom is waking up exhausted, even if you went to bed at a decent hour, and thought you slept the whole night. Other symptoms that can point to sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring (you might not notice this symptom if you sleep alone).
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness. You may find yourself drifting off performing normal daily tasks.
  • Trouble focusing.
  • Feeling irritable, or having trouble controlling your emotions.
  • Hypertension.

HOW IS SLEEP APNEA DIAGNOSED?

Sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed by a trained sleep expert, usually through a sleep study. At National Dental, we work with a wide network of highly experienced sleep experts. They can both diagnose your sleep apnea, and help you to manage it.

HOW ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY CAN HELP

Typically, sleep apnea is treated with a C-PAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. However, there are some patients who don’t respond well to the C-PAP machine. There are others, still, who don’t want to be bothered with wearing a mask over their nose.

For mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy provides an alternative to the C-PAP machine. This treatment involves the use of an oral device that is similar to a sports mouthguard. It is created using a 3-dimensional mold of your mouth and sits over your top teeth. It holds your jaw in proper alignment, preventing it from sliding back. In turn, this prevents your tongue, and other oral tissues, from sliding back and blocking your airway. While you could run to your local pharmacy and pick up an oral device there, a custom fit oral appliance will provide you with the best results. Oral devices from the pharmacy can worsen the problem, and make it much more difficult to breathe. A custom fit device will help you to get the sleep you need so that you can wake rested and refreshed.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and you are interested in oral appliance therapy, call National Dental Oakland Gardens today at (718) 407-0574.