Do you find yourself waking up frequently at night? Do you snore, to the point it’s excessively loud or disruptive to others in your household? Do you ever wake up feeling like you’re suffocating, or gasping for breath?
If so, there’s a good chance you suffer from sleep apnea. This affliction, estimated to affect more than 22 million Americans, is caused when your airways become blocked during sleep. The good news is, in many cases, a Cedar Park dentist can help alleviate these problems, with a simple dental appliance!
How An Oral Appliance May Be Able to Improve Your Sleep
Sleep apnea can be caused for a few different reasons, but they all boil down to parts of your mouth partially or completely obstructing your primary windpipe. The most common cause is if a person’s tongue slips backward in their mouth, obstructing their throat. However, other physiological issues can also contribute, such as having an oversized uvula or tonsils.
Much of the time, these issues can be solved with an oral appliance that functions much like a retainer. The appliance is custom-made, based on each patient’s mouth and situation, but its function will be to keep the windpipe from closing up. For example, the appliance might force the jaw slightly forward, which prevents the tongue from sliding as far back.
While dental appliances cannot cure sleep apnea 100% of the time, they are extremely effective in most mild-to-moderate cases. They are also superior to the primary alternative – CPAP machines – in numerous ways.
Why You Want to Avoid CPAP Machines
The standard medical solution for sleep apnea is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. It uses a combination of an air compressor and a mask to force air into the patient’s lungs. While these machines are sometimes necessary in severe cases, they have three big drawbacks:
- The mask is bulky and uncomfortable
- The CPAP machine creates considerable ambient noise
- The machine also uses significant electricity
Many patients consider CPAP machines to be a cure that’s genuinely worse than the disease or have just as hard of a time sleeping due to the discomfort.
In short, if you believe you might have sleep apnea, your first stop shouldn’t be your doctor – it should be your local Dentist in Cedar Park. If you only suffer from mild-to-moderate apnea, they will be able to create an appliance that is cheaper and more comfortable than CPAP, allowing you to get a good night’s rest!