Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition which means that your breathing temporarily stops while you are asleep. Loud snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea, and many people who suffer from sleep apnea report that while they think they slept well, they do not feel refreshed when they wake up.
People with un-treated sleep apnea tend to experience frequent periods of very shallow breathing, or even periods of 10-20 seconds where they stop breathing during the night. If these episodes are allowed to continue over prolonged periods of time, they can increase your risk of suffering from a stroke or a heart attack. Even if the sleep apnea itself does not become dangerous, the interrupted sleep patterns can lead to stress, high blood pressure, weight gain and other problems.
Some people can manage their sleep apnea simply by losing weight and purchasing a better pillow, but others require more specialist treatment. There are dental devices available that can help patients to manage their sleep apnea. These dental devices are made in a similar fashion to athletic mouth guards, and while they look unpleasant to wear most of our patients report that once a device has been fitted correctly it is quite comfortable and helps them get a good night’s sleep.
The most common dental devices that we at Shine Dental Associates use to treat sleep apnea are tongue retaining devices and the mandibular repositioning dental device. Both of these devices follow similar purposes, helping to open the airway so that breathing is not interrupted during sleep.
Some people find that they experience soreness when using a dental device; if this happens to you talk to your dentist so that they can adjust it. We recommend that our patients have their devices adjusted a couple of times a year for maximum comfort and effectiveness.