Treating Snoring & Sleep Apnea Through Dentistry
Our doctors offer several options to patients who suffer from sleep related breathing disorders at his dental office in Frederick, Maryland.
If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with our doctors to find out if oral appliance therapy is right for you. An oral appliance can help you maintain an opened, unobstructed airway in the throat during sleep. Our doctors have been trained in the selection, design, fitting and use of custom designed oral appliances.
What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep Apnea occurs when the soft palate and tongue collapse onto the back of the throat during sleep. The upper airway is blocked and air flow stops, causing the oxygen level to drop.
When this happens the brain moves out of deep sleep and you partially awaken. The airway is once again able to contract and open, and the obstructed throat is clear, allowing air flow. Breathing often begins with a loud gasp. When the air flow starts again you are able to go back into a deep sleep, and the process starts all over again. This scenario may occur many times throughout the night.
There are many side effects from this combination of low oxygen levels and fragmented sleep. Daytime sleepiness and a higher incidence of driving and work related accidents are common. Additionally, studies have shown a higher rate of stroke and heart related problems.
What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when the soft tissue structures of the upper airway collapse onto themselves. These tissues vibrate against each other as we attempt to breathe. This produces the sound we call snoring.
Airway narrowing and snoring are more likely with large tonsils, a long soft palate, a large tongue and uvula, or excess fat deposits in the throat. Typically, the more narrow the airway is, the louder or more often you snore.
Treatment for Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Good sleep hygiene, weight loss, and exercise are some helpful treatments you can try on your own. In addition to these practices Oral Appliance Therapy may help.
What is an oral appliance?
Oral appliances are similar to mouth guards used for sports or orthodontic retainers. There are several ways oral appliances work, these include:
- Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
- Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
- Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue