Tired of your partner complaining about your constant snoring? You might have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is no laughing matter and poses considerable health risks when left unchecked. Furthermore, the snoring can lead to spats between couples. If you want to regain control of your life and stop snoring, you might want to ask your dentist about an oral appliance for sleep apnea.
What is an oral appliance for sleep apnea?
This device is used as a treatment for stopping snoring and treating obstructive sleep apnea - or OSA. The device is custom-made for each patient and can help you get a good night's sleep while improving other facets of your waking life.
The device is worn during sleep and is used just like the mouth guards that athletes use to protect their teeth. It moves the jaw into a forward position which, in turn, opens up the upper airway.
Once your doctor determines that an oral appliance is the best treatment option for your OSA, you will need to see a dentist for your custom-made oral appliance. For this, you will need a prescription and referral.
Why should you choose an oral appliance over other OSA treatments?
Oral appliances offer a few advantages over other treatments. For one, it is comfortable and easy to wear. (If you are not comfortable wearing a device, that defeats the purpose of wearing that device, no matter how effective it is). Unlike a CPAP, an oral appliance is quiet, portable and easy to maintain.
During your initial visit to the dentist, she will explain how oral appliances work, as well as their benefits. She may also discuss potential side effects as well as treatment costs.
After that, your dentist will evaluate your mouth and take X-ray images of it before sending impressions and models of your teeth to the dental laboratory which will fabricate your oral appliance.
You will need to come back to the dental office once the oral appliance is ready. During this visit, your dentist will need to make sure that the appliance fits you perfectly in order to guarantee your comfort.
Your dentist will also provide you with tips on how to care for your oral appliance. Afterwards, your doctor may call you for a sleep study in order to determine whether the oral appliance works for you or not.
You may also need to visit your dentist at a later time in order to ensure that your oral appliance still fits your mouth well.