Sleep apnea and snoring problems are commonly treated conditions at Woodcreek Dental. Both of them are not just a health risk to the sufferer, but can also affect personal relationships as even the sleep of a partner is disrupted. Sleep apnea is caused by an interruption in breathing that forces a person to wake up and breathe correctly momentarily. The sufferer is not even conscious of having woken up, but this disruption results in feelings of tiredness when they wake up in the morning.
Oral appliances are a good solution for many of the mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea and snoring. These simple devices work by better positioning the jaws and tongue away from the back of the throat. This keeps the upper respiratory tract open, and free-breathing is achieved. There are other devices that can be used to treat the conditions. Oral devices, however, tend to be favored as they are affordable, compact, quiet, and effective.
Conditions That Benefit From Oral Appliances
As mentioned, sleep apnea is the main condition that benefits most from the use of oral appliances. The soft tissues around the neck area collapsing inwards and blocking off the airway causes obstructive sleep apnea. Weak throat muscles, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, large soft palate, and heavy tongue can all contribute to this and cause restriction. Mandibular repositioning devices work by pushing forward the lower jaw. This, in turn, pulls much of these soft tissues forward and opens up the passage.
Another condition that can be treated with oral appliances is bruxism. Teeth grinding can be very damaging to the tooth enamel. Left untreated, it can become so worn down that a crown has to be placed. Often the damage is not restricted to just one tooth. That means that in fixing the problem, restorative work will need to be done to multiple teeth. This is not only expensive but can be very painful. Damaged enamel provides easy entry of bacteria into the inner parts of the tooth and can promote heightened decay. Oral devices help to keep teeth separated when asleep providing a helpful solution for bruxism.
Getting Oral Devices Fitted
When getting a mandibular repositioning device, it is important to ensure that it fits properly. They are designed to cover the teeth of the upper and lower jaw. As the arrangement and sizing of different peoples teeth can vary greatly, it is not usually possible to find a comfortable choice over the counter. There are pre-formed and ‘boil and bite’ choices that can be bought at many drug stores. They are however, often not suitable for different bites and can be uncomfortable to wear when trying to rest.
The best way to get a perfect fit device is to visit a professional. Our team will take a plaster mold of your teeth and use this to create a quality device customized for your particular bite. We will trim it properly to avoid gum irritation. Although more expensive than over the counter options, the comfortable fit and long-lasting material should more than makeup for the extra cost.
You do not have to endure the stress of snoring, sleep apnea, and/or bruxism any longer. Make an appointment with us at Woodcreek Dental at (805) 482-6389, and we will help you find the best solution for your sleep problems.