Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Have you been told that you snore at night? Are you getting shaken awake by a concerned and slightly annoyed partner being told that your sawing wood is keeping them awake? If you’re waking up in the morning feeling tired and poorly rested, your throat hurts, you often feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day, and waking up feeling like you’re choking, then there’s a good chance that you suffer from a fairly common sleep disorder called sleep apnea. While sleep apnea seems more like an annoyance, the reality is that if left untreated, it can cause severe complications and even death. We here at Nelson R. Diers Orthodontics offer several options for our patients who have sleep apnea, giving them relief from their symptoms.
What Can I Do About My Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans and occurs when your airway closes at night, causing you to suffocate and stop breathing for several seconds. When this happens, people with this condition tend to wake up choking. Often, sufferers of sleep apnea don’t even realize that they have it and may wake up several times per hour every single night due to their suffocation.
The causes of sleep apnea can vary, but genetics and health to play a large role. Obesity is a common cause of obstructive sleep apnea, as well as having a thick throat or a narrow airway. Men are more likely than women to have it, and older individuals also suffer from it more often than younger people. That doesn’t mean that women and children are immune to it, however! Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea. Smoking, upper respiratory infections or congestion, and large tonsils are also associated with sleep apnea.
If you have sleep apnea, you have many choices on how you can treat it. Some people choose to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help their breathing, but because it can be loud and covers the nose and mouth, compliance is low. For people who are struggling to breathe at night, oral appliances can help you.
For instance, a Mandibular Repositioning Device can help open your airways as you sleep and are the most commonly advised device for sleep apnea. They work by fitting over your teeth and push your lower jaw forward to help open your airway. This can effectively prevent your airway from closing at night, stopping your snoring and your choking. A tongue retaining device works by holding onto your tongue as you sleep, preventing it from falling back and closing off your throat and stopping the unwanted vibrations that can cause snoring.
These devices are great for people who have mild to moderate sleep apnea. If you have a more severe form of this condition, you may be a candidate for surgery to help eliminate your symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about sleep apnea and want to schedule an appointment for a consultation about this dangerous condition, or if you’re simply tired of sleeping on the couch due to your loud snoring, please give us here at Nelson R. Diers Orthodontics a call today at (513) 829-4400!