Many people believe sleep apnea and snoring are one in the same, but sleep apnea is more serious. The American Medical Association (AMA) estimates that 30 million people have sleep apnea, yet only 6 million have been diagnosed with the condition.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening medical condition. It results in temporary pauses in breathing during the night as a result of the muscles supporting the airway becoming too relaxed, causing an obstruction and making it difficult to breathe or get quality sleep. Those living with untreated sleep apnea experience an increased risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and even death.
Sleep apnea affects people of all ages, from infancy into late adulthood. It affects approximately 25% of men and 10% of women. Those over the age of 40, as well as those living with obesity, are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
- Loud snoring
- Waking throughout the night gasping or feeling short of breath
- Shallow breathing
- Waking with a sore throat, dry mouth, or headache
How is sleep apnea treated?
The most effective tool used to treat sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure delivered through a specialized mask placed on the patient’s face while they sleep. The machine forces air through the mouth to maintain a patient airway, regardless of lax muscles.
Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to sleep with a CPAP machine as the device can be uncomfortable or they experience anxiety. Though continuous positive airway pressure is the most recommended treatment, oral appliance therapy is a popular alternative.
What is oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive treatment option designed to improve sleep in those with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Specialized dental appliances work to prevent airway compromise in two major ways - thrusting the lower jaw forward to maintain patency and holding the tongue in place to prevent it from falling to the back of the throat, causing an obstruction.
Advantages of oral appliance therapy
Oral appliances allow for sleep apnea treatment to fit all lifestyles.
These devices are:
- Easy to care for
- Easy and comfortable to wear
A mouth guard is one of the most cost-effective oral appliances that can be molded to fit your mouth right at home. It helps to reposition the lower jaw to maintain an open airway.
A tongue-retaining device is designed to keep the tongue out and pushed forward throughout the night. Though effective, this device can leave you feeling uncomfortable and waking with a dry mouth.
Mandibular advancement device
A mandibular advancement device is a prescribed oral appliance, custom-fitted, to be worn during the night to treat sleep-related breathing disorders.
Las Cruces Sleep Apnea Treatment Near You
If you've received a sleep apnea diagnosis and would like sleep apnea treatment but don't want to sleep wearing a CPAP machine, we're here to help! Oral appliance therapy is a comfortable alternative to improve your symptoms and treat many sleep apnea cases. Las Cruces Dental Solution offers oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. Call us at 575-305-7415 or request an appointment online.