Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects people while sleeping. It consists of pauses in breathing that could last just a few seconds but could go on for a few minutes and could occur up to 30 or more times an hour. The person suffering from this disorder usually wakes with a startled choking sound or loud snort. It is described as a chronic condition because it is ongoing and if not treated can cause many problems stemming from the lack of quality sleep.
There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles in the throat relax and cause the block in the airway. In its simplest forms, snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
Depending on the severity, many different methods can be used to help treat sleep apnea. More severe cases might actually require surgery or a bulky mask that must be worn while sleeping every night. However, sleep dentistry has become a helpful alternative.
Unlike risky surgeries or bulky equipment, a dental appliance for sleep apnea looks just like a mouth guard that some already wear for teeth grinding and athletes wear when playing sports. Oral appliance therapy works by positioning the jaw forward which allows the airway to remain open.
A sleep apnea appliance is very easy to wear, travel-friendly, easy to care for, and quiet (unlike loud sleep apnea machines). An oral appliance is a smart option for many people.
If you suffer from snoring that is loud enough to wake you or your partner up, you could be suffering from sleep apnea and not even realize it. Be sure to discuss any sleep issues you are having with your dentist. Many do not even realize how sleep deprived they are until they start wearing their oral appliance for a week and start getting the proper amount of rest. With the easy upkeep and amazing health benefits, everyone should consider a dental appliance to eliminate sleep apnea.