Sleep is important, no matter how old you are. Kids require a lot of sleep, but even adults perform better when they get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, a health condition called sleep apnea can degrade your sleep quality. If you find yourself feeling tired in the morning, despite sleeping for eight hours or more, you should talk to your doctor about participating in a sleep study.
When you wake up feeling tired every morning, sleep apnea could be to blame. Sleep apnea occurs when you are unable to breathe properly while unconscious. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common form of this sleep disorder. It occurs when your tongue or soft palate cannot maintain the correct tension while you sleep, creating an obstruction in your airway. Sleep apnea oral appliance therapy can help. Here are three things you should know about this treatment:
1. Your dentist will help you.
You're likely used to seeing your dentist for tooth-related concerns. However, dentists can also help patients with sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea pertains to the placement of certain parts of your mouth in your sleep. Your dentist can modify the way your mouth rests through the use of oral appliance therapy. To begin this treatment, you'll need to make an appointment with your dentist and describe the nature of your problem.
2. You may be given one of two devices.
Different types of oral appliances are used in oral appliance therapy. The device you're given will depend on the nature of your sleep apnea. Mandibular advancement devices can help people who do not have enough space in the back of their mouth when they sleep. Someone with insufficient muscle tension in their soft palate can benefit from a mandibular advancement device. This device will push your jaw forward, creating extra room for airflow.
If your tongue placement is the problem, your dentist may give you a tongue retaining device. Tongue retaining devices don't reposition your jaw. Instead, they hold your tongue in place while you sleep, preventing it from falling backward and blocking your airway. Your dentist will choose the device that will best remedy your sleep apnea.
3. Your oral appliance will be custom-fitted to your mouth.
Unlike night guards, which can be purchased from any drug store, oral appliances must be custom-fitted to your mouth. This custom fitting will ensure you are as comfortable as possible when you fall asleep at night. It will also ensure your oral appliance therapy functions as it's supposed to.
For more information about sleep apnea oral appliances, contact a dentist.