How Can Dentists Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

How Can Dentists Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Snoring is a condition that affects many people, especially men. It occurs when the airflow in your throat causes tissues in your throat to vibrate. The vibrating tissue in the throat causes harsh, irritating sounds, hence the snoring.

The snoring sounds may not disturb you since you are asleep. It may, however, irritate your housemates or partner. It is not a condition to take lightly, as it could signify an underlying health condition. Unlike snoring, sleep apnea is a chronic sleeping disorder. It happens when you are unable to breathe effortlessly when sleeping.


Dental Sleep Medicine

Dental sleep medicine is a field of dentistry where they collaborate with other health care specialists in treating sleep disorders. They help you manage your snoring and sleep apnea via oral appliance therapy. There are two forms of oral appliance therapies. They are tongue-retaining mouthpieces and mandibular advancement devices.


Tongue-Retaining Mouthpieces

These mouthpieces are helpful specifically to people with sleep apnea plus minimal jaw flexibility. They work by keeping the tongue from slipping back into your respiratory tract while sleeping. It employs a light suction force around your tongue, holding it in place.


Mandibular Advancement Devices

These devices resemble athletic mouth guards. They have two trays with a hinge at the center that fit over the lower and upper sets of teeth. They work by holding your tongue and lower jaw in a somewhat frontward position as you sleep.

This keeps the soft tissues at the rear of your throat and mouth from blocking the respiratory tract as they relax during sleep. Your dentist can modify the position of the device to boost its effectiveness.


Role of Dentists in Treating Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Dentists play an important role in diagnosing persons suffering from sleep apnea. They help in gathering their patient’s medical history. Once they identify sleep breathing disorders in a patient, they can refer them to a doctor.

The doctor then runs the necessary tests to determine what form of treatment the patient requires. If they determine that you need an oral device, the dentist will recommend which one you need. The dentist will liaise with your doctor as you continue with the course of sleep apnea treatment.


Benefits of Treating Sleep Apnea Using Dental Devices

Dental devices are helping many people who are suffering from sleep apnea. There is concrete proof that they help reduce the perils of dealing with minor to moderate sleep apnea. They are particularly helpful for people who either sleep on their back or stomach. These persons with sleep apnea claim to experience better airflow from using dental devices while sleeping.

All dentists recommend that users of dental devices must maintain good oral hygiene. In doing this, your sleeping patterns will improve. This also reduces the frequency and loudness of snoring.

There are many other ways of controlling sleep apnea and snoring by employing some lifestyle changes. Some include changes in nutrition and eating habits. You may also have to limit or quit smoking and alcohol intake.

If you or someone you know is suffering from snoring or sleep apnea, visit Castro Valley Dentistry at our office in Castro Valley, California. You can call (510) 674-0900 today to book an appointment.

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