You get one set of adult teeth, and if you lose a tooth, it’s gone for good. Although you can replace it with a prosthetic, it’s better if you protect your teeth with a mouth guard and avoid the pain and hassle. So, who needs a mouth guard?
If you’ve got obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you’re at risk of complications from a wide range of conditions, many of which can be life threatening. One of the best treatments to combat OSA is continuous positive air pressure therapy, commonly called CPAP.
CPAP treatment, though, has a significant barrier to its success. According to one study, over 40% of patients reject CPAP therapy before trying it, and a little more than half of those who choose CPAP are still using it one year later. Estimates about CPAP treatment non-adherence ranges anywhere from 29% to 83%.
So, while CPAP may be effective when used, it proves difficult to sustain treatment, if a patient even chooses to use it in the first place. There’s clearly a place for a treatment option that’s less complex and easier to maintain, before resorting to surgery to correct the problems causing OSA. The answer may be as close as a visit to Centerport Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry.
As sleep apnea specialists, Dr. Benjamin Wang and the team at Centerport are passionate about their patient care. Fitting custom-made oral appliances is perhaps the best alternative to CPAP when treating sleep apnea without surgery, so the dentist really is the right stop for this sleep disorder.
The obstructions associated with many cases of sleep apnea occur when soft tissue at the back of your mouth and throat collapse. This frequently includes both the soft palate and the tongue. These soft tissues vibrate with the passage of air, creating the distinctive sound of snoring and they can even collapse enough to stop breathing altogether.
Your brain sends signals to wake you up enough to re-start breathing, but this can happen dozens of times a night.
Part of this tissue collapse also affects the muscles that hold your lower jaw. As you sleep, it slips back and down, compounding the collapsing tissue problem. If you were able to keep your jaw forward in its normal position overnight, you could maintain enough room to breathe, and sleep apnea wouldn’t be an issue.
This is where the dental mouthpiece enters the picture. Designed around dental impressions made of your mouth, these appliances resemble sports mouthpieces and work in much the same way. Because they’re custom-made, they’re comfortable and easy to transport, so it’s simple to continue your sleep apnea treatment, even when on vacation or otherwise away from home.
The mouthpiece prevents your lower jaw from dropping back, maintaining a clear airway, and permitting free breathing through the night.
Oral appliances are so effective at treating OSA that both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) recommend oral appliances as the best alternative for patients who don’t want or can’t tolerate CPAP therapy.
When you have sleep apnea issues, you may find it easier to try an oral appliance first, before the time and expense necessary to accommodate CPAP technology. It’s a more conservative treatment that also has the benefits of being drug-free and easy to use.
Dr. Wang and the team at Centerport Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry are ready to help fit you with your custom appliance. Call the office today to arrange your consultation.
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