Over 30% of the people can develop sleep apnea over the course of their lives. The easily identified symptom of this condition is snoring, but it does not mean that everyone who snores have this condition.
This makes diagnosing sleep apnea very tricky. It is treatable in early stages where it isn’t life threatening. Dentists are the best agents for treating this condition and they can recommend some dental appliances which can help cure it over time.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition where the muscles of the airways relax which makes the person’s breathing ragged and develops into snoring. You can identify pauses in breathing during sleep that is potentially life threatening in severe cases. This can result in imbalances in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type and is treated easily using dental appliances that help keep the narrowed airways open in order to restore proper breathing over time.
Central sleep apnea develops when the brain does not send signals to the airways to perform breathing functions. It can also lead to serious heart conditions and should be diagnosed by a dentist before it becomes serious.
Dental appliances for treatments
If you have been diagnosed by sleep apnea, it shouldn’t be a cause for panic. Consult with your dental care professional for the best course of treatment. Generally, they will prescribe certain dental appliances for you to use at home that will treat the condition over time.
- Basic treatment involves letting go of habits like smoking, and tranquilizer use, among others, that can worsen sleep apnea.
- Older treatments had the patients wear dental masks that kept the airways forcibly open for breathing during sleep.
- Dental appliances have become more popular as well as effective. These devices gently ease the jaw and tongue forward in order to free up the airways. These are easy to use and do not cause discomfort when wearing them to sleep.
- Surgery is also used to treat sleep apnea. It is a simple procedure for the dentist to correct the positioning and the structure of the jaw just enough to allow easy breathing. It is a permanent solution that is quickly becoming popular. However, dentists prefer to prescribe appliances as it is a safer course of treatment despite taking a longer time.
Treat sleep apnea in daily life
Sleep apnea can be easily treated at home using prescribed dental appliances. Your dentist will ask you to wear these devices to sleep so that the airways remain open and breathing becomes normal.
Mouth guards such as the ones worn in combat sports are also a viable option. You can get customized devices as well for everyday use. The treatment can last from six months to about two years depending on the severity of the condition. It is advisable to conduct regular checkups with your dental care professional during this time.