Sleep apnea is a common medical disorder that causes one or more interruptions in breathing or episodes of shallow inhalation during sleep. Occurring several times an hour, the pauses may last just seconds or as long as a few minutes. When normal breathing resumes, you may make a snorting or a choking sound. This chronic condition prevents you from enjoying restorative sleep. As a result, you will wake up tired. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime drowsiness.
Since the episodes occur while you are asleep, the condition frequently goes undiagnosed. Doctors cannot detect the condition during a routine office visit. Most people learn they have sleep apnea when a family member notices the abnormal breathing pattern and brings it to their attention. If left untreated, the condition can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and a heart attack, as well as diabetes and obesity.
Treatment for this chronic condition may include lifestyle changes, as well as the use of mouthpieces and breathing devices. One common treatment technique is the use of a mandibular advancement device, which is also known as a sleep apnea mouth guard.
This Food and Drug Administration-approved dental sleep device is used to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The appliance is designed to open the airway by moving the mandible, or lower jaw, forward. The collapsible portion of your airway is held open by your upper jaw, throat muscles and the forward movement of your tongue, which is attached to the lower jaw behind your chin.
By increasing the size of the upper airway, the device reduces the resistance that causes snoring and sleep apnea. This dental appliance also strengthens the muscles of the tongue and throat. The mandibular advancement device is typically custom-made by a orthodontic specialist using a plastic mold to match the unique dimensions of the patient’s mouth and teeth.
Your physician will recommend a sleep study to confirm the sleep apnea diagnosis before an oral appliance is prescribed. Another study will be conducted after the device has been properly fitted to determine its effectiveness.
A good night’s sleep is important for cognitive function and your overall health. If you suffer from sleep apnea, schedule an appointment at Lach Orthodontics, with locations in Orlando and Oviedo. We will assess your condition and then determine the best course of action for your situation. Our experienced staff will decide whether you are a candidate for a mandibular advancement device. Contact us today to book your appointment to learn more.