Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Because of this irregularity in breathing, the condition is potentially serious.
The diagnosis of the specific type of sleep apnea that a person has can be difficult to determine, but common symptoms of the condition include:
There are a variety of treatments available for sleep apnea, the selection of which depends on the severity of the patient’s condition. Oral appliances are most effective in treating mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, though they can also be used by patients with more severe cases who cannot tolerate airway pressure therapy. They can also be used in conjunction with a CPAP. There are two main categories of oral appliances in sleep apnea treatment: mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and tongue retaining mouthpieces.
MADs are very similar to mouth guards used during sports or to treat bruxism. They consist of two pieces, one fitting over the upper teeth and one over the lower teeth, which are connected with metal hinges. MADs work by pushing the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward. This helps to prevent the throat muscles from collapsing back into the airways, which allows for normal breathing during sleep. Most are adjustable and can be fine-tuned by a dentist to a position of the jaw provides maximum effectiveness.
Patients who cannot adequately have their jaw repositioned forward may better benefit from tongue retaining mouthpieces. These devices are similar in construction to MADs but have an added compartment that fits around the tongue. This compartment uses suction to keep the tongue held forward and prevents it from collapsing back into the airway.
Think you may need sleep apnea therapy in Sugar Land, TX? Schedule an appointment with us today!