Poor sleep plagues at least 60 million Americans, but sometimes the cause is more sinister than eating poorly or watching TV late at night. If you've been told that you snore loudly in your sleep, there's a chance that you could actually have sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder that can cause poor sleep and even put your health at risk. Thankfully, a simple dental appliance can help you to curb the harmful effects of this disorder. Keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea and the dental appliance that can help:
Snoring or Sleep Apnea
Most people snore to one extent or another, but in some cases, sleep apnea is confused for snoring. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the airway becomes so impaired that sufferers often stop breathing entirely during their sleep for a period of time. This is extremely dangerous, as it starves the cells in the body and brain of oxygen.
People who have sleep apnea are at a higher risk of a variety of secondary diseases, like cardiovascular disease. If you snore severely or anyone has ever told you that you occasionally gasp in your sleep like you're catching your breath, you could have sleep apnea.
How Dentists Can Help
Dentists can construct an appliance that helps to open the airway and prevent you from struggling to breathe during your sleep. This not only promotes good air flow and prevents your body from going without oxygen, but it helps you to relax more while you're asleep. Rather than having to strain to clear your throat and airway repeatedly during the night, you can instead sleep peacefully and get better rest while you're unconscious.
What To Expect From the Appliance
Treatment for sleep apnea with the help of a dentist is called oral appliance therapy. This appliance is extremely similar to a retainer. Your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and order a custom-fit appliance that's made just for you. This appliance will pull your bottom jaw forward slightly, holding your airway open while you're asleep. For most people, the appliance is fairly comfortable after you get used to it, and far less troublesome than not being able to breathe at night.
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, you should first see a doctor for a diagnosis. From there, a dentist can help you by making an appliance to prevent airway collapse while you sleep. Contact a dental office like Jerry C Hu DDS Family Dentistry LLC for more information and assistance.