Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices, are custom-made devices that are worn in the mouth during sleep. They are designed to position the jaw and tongue in a way that keeps the airway open, reducing or eliminating snoring and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted and they will stop breathing altogether during sleep. This can cause a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood and an increase in carbon dioxide levels. When oxygen levels in the blood are low, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to the body, which can lead to high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, and other heart-related problems. Over time, this can cause damage to the heart and increase the risk of developing heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have sleep apnea to prevent or treat any associated heart disease.
Some common symptoms of sleep disorders like sleep apnea include: loud snoring; pauses in breathing during sleep; gasping or choking during sleep; excessive daytime sleepiness; feeling tired or fatigued upon waking; morning headaches; difficulty concentrating or remembering things; irritability or mood swings; restless sleep or insomnia; decreased libido or impotence; high blood pressure; and heart disease.
For sleep apnea patients, oral appliances can be a great alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask over the nose and/or mouth that delivers a continuous flow of air to keep the airway open. However, some patients find CPAP therapy uncomfortable or intolerable.
Oral appliances can be more comfortable and easier to use than CPAP machines. They are also more portable and convenient for travel. And unlike surgery, they are non-invasive and do not require a recovery period.
However, it is important to note that oral appliances are not suitable for all sleep apnea patients. They are typically recommended for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea who are either unable or unwilling to use a CPAP machine. Patients with severe sleep apnea may require CPAP therapy or other more invasive treatments.Dr. Nitalya B. Williams practices at Get It Straight Orthodontics and Family Dentistry, in Tucson. The team of expert dentists and orthodontist at Get It Straight Orthodontics and Family Dentistry provide full comprehensive general dental and orthodontic care. They provide orthodontic treatments, TMJ therapy, appliances treating bruxism or grinding and clenching, as well as snore and sleep apnea appliance therapy. They also offer the Adult Complete membership program, which includes: professional cleanings, regular exams and screenings, routine x-rays, emergency exam and more for $31 per month. Learn more at tinyurl.com/AdultCompleteDentalTucson. Connect at 520-745-5051 or GetItStraightBraces.com. See ad, page 5.