Sleep apnea is a disorder categorized by a pause or shortage of breathing during sleep. Most often, sleep apnea occurs during sleep, due to which the sleep gets disturbed as a result of inadequate breathing and insufficient oxygen levels in the blood. It is more prevalent among adults than children. Although sleep apnea can be diagnosed based on a person's medical history, several tests are needed to confirm the disorder. Sleep apnea can be treated either surgically or non-surgically.
What Are the Root Causes of Sleep Apnea?
- One of the foremost reasons for sleep apnea is obesity which causes the narrowing of the airways.
- Obstructive sleep apnea is quite common among people with a family medical history of the same.
- The size and positioning of a person's neck, jaw, tongue, and other tissues near the throat also directly affect the airflow in a person.
- The tissues in the throat can relax, making it easier for the airway to become obstructed due to the excessive use of sedative medicines.
- One of the contributing factors to sleep apnea includes heavy smoking.
- Sleeping on your back makes it easier for tissues to fold around the airways, leading to blockages.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The common symptoms of sleep apnea include the following:
- Sleep apnea may cause a person to snore loudly during sleep.
- It can cause headaches in the mornings.
- One can awake from sleep gasping for air.
- A person can stop breathing during sleep.
- You may wake up from your sleep with a dry mouth.
- The breathing may get obstructed during sleep.
- Sleep apnea may cause insomnia in a patient.
What Are the Devices Available in Dentistry to Treat Sleep Apnea?
A dentist plays a very critical role in treating sleep apnea. Once you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you can consult your dentist to learn more about the condition and the various options available to treat it. Dentists may suggest the wearing of oral appliances such as a snore guard. The snore guards can help ease symptoms in patients suffering from mild to moderate apnea, and it looks and functions almost like a mouthguard. They help realign the jaw to the correct position to put the least amount of strain on the muscles that, when tensed, cause snoring.
When a patient wears a snore guard during sleep, it prevents the obstruction of the airways. This oral device is designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep and help reduce the possibility of a block.
Custom-made snore guards are fabricated at dental clinics and are made from hard to soft, flexible materials. For this, an impression of your teeth is taken. The impression is used to fabricate the guard to fit the teeth perfectly, ensuring it does not shift around during sleep and is as comfortable as possible. After final adjustments are made, the snore guard is provided to the patient.
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