Sleep apnea has an immense ability to disrupt one’s life and, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. CPAP machines are often used to treat this disorder, and opening up the airways can help people sleep better over time. However, these machines aren’t always effective, nor are they applicable to every person with sleep apnea. For dentists, this means addressing the issue of obstructed airways with orthodontic and dental sleep devices as a safe and reliable alternative to CPAP machines.
While treating sleep apnea in dentistry may seem like an uncommon approach, dentists can be qualified to assist in treating sleep disorders through observing jaw alignment and musculoskeletal health in relation to the condition. Typically, orthodontists are able to address the issue of sleep apnea through the use of dental sleep devices, as this specialty also works to treat other dental disorders such as bruxism. Providing mouthguards and other oral appliances can help reduce snoring, improve sleep quality, and improve energy levels at the start of each day.
For treatments, our team at Elite Dental Group can provide these options to help treat your sleep disorder:
- Mandibular Advancement Devices: Mandibular advancement devices are the most common type of sleep device for obstructive sleep apnea. These devices open the airways by moving the lower jaw forward. The tongue is attached to the chin area of the lower jaw, and as the jaw moves forward, the jaw that attempts to collapse on itself is held open by the movement of the tongue and airway muscles. These devices work to improve the strength of the airways by increasing muscle activity.
- Tongue Retaining Devices: Instead of working the tongue and airway muscles, tongue retaining devices pull the tongue forward and directly control the tongue itself. These devices can be less comfortable than mandibular advancement devices but, over time, can be adjusted so they can be worn more comfortably.
- Combination CPAP/Dental Sleep Device Therapy: In cooperation with your sleep apnea specialist, using a combination of CPAP machines and the previously mentioned dental sleep devices can work to tackle both issues of obstructed airways and poor jaw alignment. Both of these dental sleep devices can be used in tandem and can be attached together to provide a more comfortable sleep and improve oral health.
At Elite Dental Group, we highly recommend visiting a sleep specialist before inquiring about dental sleep options. Once diagnosed, our team can help you find relief through our oral appliance therapy options.
Through treating dental and orofacial problems, Elite Dental Group in Poughkeepsie, NY, works to provide our patients with a more viable alternative to CPAP machines. Through us, we can provide customized treatment plans that reduce risks to your health and help you gain full, uninterrupted sleep. Beyond sleep apnea, we work to provide our patients with comprehensive dental care that will leave you smiling and happy at the end of the day. For more information, contact our practice to learn more about our dental sleep apnea services.