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Oral Appliances
Davis, CA

Sleep apnea is a disorder where your breathing gets interrupted while you are asleep. This condition can make you stop breathing several times during the night.

The breathing usually ceases for about 10 seconds, after which you automatically gasp, snort, or choke as your body struggles to resume oxygen intake. Oral appliances that help your airways stay open are often used to treat sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The initial signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are often recognized by a bed partner rather than the patient themselves. Here are some of the tell-tale symptoms of sleep apnea:
•  Daytime fatigue
•  Snoring
•  Waking up suddenly while gasping or choking
•  Restlessness during sleep
•  Dry mouth or sore throat after waking up
•  Night sweats
•  Intellectual impairment, that is, forgetfulness, irritability, or difficulty concentrating
•  Headaches
•  Sexual dysfunction

Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Oral appliances can treat sleep apnea by pulling or pushing your lower jaw to the front. This is done to ensure that your tongue does not obstruct your airways. A woman using an oral appliance from Davis Dental Practice in Davis, CA

A sign that an oral appliance is functioning well is that your snoring goes away completely or lessens considerably. Here are two major oral appliances used by dentists to cure sleep apnea:

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD)

This is one of the most popular devices used to treat sleep apnea, and resembles a mouth guard worn during sports. It snaps over upper and lower dental arches and contains metal hinges to hold the two pieces together. One piece is designed for the upper teeth and the other for the lower ones.

This appliance works by pushing the tongue forward, which stops the throat and muscles and tissues like the pharynx from collapsing into the airways. MAD is most often used for patients who are unable to have their jaw naturally positioned forward.

Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces

If you have sleep apnea, the muscles in your throat tend to relax a little more than they should. This causes them to block the path from your mouth to your lungs. Tongue retaining devices are an alternative to MAD for treating sleep apnea.

Although they are used less frequently than MAD, they are similar in structure. They contain a small compartment with suction capability that encloses the tongue. This helps keep it forward and prevents it from falling back towards the airway.

Benefits of Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

An alternative to oral appliances is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which is a machine that you can use to clear your airways. However, oral appliances recommended by dentists have several advantages over the CPAP. Here are some of the major benefits of using oral appliances to sleep better:
•  Cost-effective: Oral appliances can be bought for a fraction of the cost of buying a CPAP machine.
•  Simplicity: Oral appliances are made of lightweight material and are easy to put into your mouth. As opposed to them, CPAP machines are complex as they come with various parts such as filters, manuals, and air delivery system.
•  Portable: It is easy to carry oral devices as compared to heavy CPAP machines.

If you have trouble breathing while you are asleep, or if you notice your partner gasping or choking in their sleep, it is time to consult an experienced dentist. Schedule an appointment along with your cleanings, exams, and x-rays with us at Davis Dental Practice by giving us a call at (530) 756-5300 today.

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Oral Appliances - Davis Dental Practice - Dentist Davis, CA
Oral appliances can treat sleep apnea by pulling or pushing your lower jaw to the front. Schedule an appointment with Davis Dental Practice to learn more today!
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