Hallsville sleep apnea questions: How does a dental appliance help?
Obstructive sleep apnea is an unfortunately common sleeping disorder that affects an estimated 18 million Americans, many of whom are not being treated. There are two primary challenges in treating sleep apnea, the first being the initial diagnosis.
Afflicted individuals often mistake apnea for simple snoring, although there is an important, and dangerous, difference. A snoring person is breathing, albeit very loudly. A person in the midst of an apneic event is not breathing. The event may pass in a few seconds, typically followed by loud snoring as the body struggles to replenish oxygen. Although a brief pause in breathing may seem harmless, these events can occur hundreds of times every night. The cumulative effects of repetitive oxygen deprivation, disrupted sleep, and physiological stress can wreak havoc with a person’s physical health and cognitive functionality.
Once a person has been diagnosed with apnea, the next challenge is the treatment itself. For many years, there was only one option, the CPAP machine. It works very well, but many patients find it too cumbersome, uncomfortable, or inconvenient. Fortunately, today we have an alternative to CPAP that is simple, comfortable, and convenient. Custom oral appliances, from a dental professional, have brought sweet relief and sound sleep to countless individuals in Hallsville, Longview, and other communities around the world.
Oral appliances work by holding the airway open during sleep. Depending on the type of appliance, it may:
- Increase the tongue’s muscle tone
- Stabilize the tongue and lower jaw
- Reposition the tongue, lower jaw, uvula, and soft palate
Although there are some commercially available devices, they may not be as safe or effective as those provided by a specially trained dentist such as Dr. Bruyere. Once you have been diagnosed, he will perform an evaluation to determine the best type of appliance, depending on the structure of your airway and the surrounding tissues. The appliance will be customized for optimal comfort and functionality.
If you have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or if you have severe apnea and you cannot tolerate CPAP, you may be an ideal candidate for an oral appliance. Call us at 903-708-6116 and schedule a consultation to learn more.