Have you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea – a condition where muscle relaxation around the tongue and throat cause tissue to block airflow to the lungs while you sleep? There are a number of treatment options to discuss with your doctor, which may include dental appliances or mouth guards.
If you have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be a simple and effective treatment option. Sleep apnea oral appliances are worn at night while you sleep and must be fitted by a trained dentist or orthodontist. Some of them include:
- Mandibular advancement device (MAD) – widely used in the treatment of sleep apnea. MADs look similar to a mouth guard used in sports. These devices snap over the upper and lower dental arches and are equipped with hinges so the lower jaw can be eased forward.
- Tongue retaining device – this device is less common than the MAD. The device is a splint that holds the tongue in place in order to keep the airway open.
For individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea, particularly those who tend to sleep on their backs and stomachs, dental devices have shown to improve sleep and reduce the frequency and loudness associated with snoring.
Dental devices can be an excellent non-surgical alternative for the treatment of sleep apnea, and many individuals have found them to be a preferable choice over uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), the standard surgical procedure for treating sleep apnea.
The best treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea depends on the severity of your problem, the structure of your upper airway, any medical problems you may have, and your personal preference. You should work with your doctor and dentist to select the treatment option that suits you best.
To discuss your treatment options with a Beverly Hills dentist, contact Bedford Dental Group today!