We can assist in providing relief from obstructive sleep apnea with the use of a dentist constructed mandibular advancement device. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can be helped. Patients don’t always think to discuss sleep apnea with their dentist, but we can discuss both non-surgical and surgical options to help you get the air you need while you sleep. The most simple and noninvasive option is simply wearing a device that is designed to bring your tongue forward while you sleep. Our team at Palo Alto Oral Health can examine and review your mouth and oral cavity, discuss treatment options and design a plan for you. Our goal is to start with the least invasive option and move forward as necessary. You don’t necessarily need to sleep with bulky CPAP machines; lets see what we can do with the least interference in your daily routine.
What is Sleep Apnea?
There are three main types of sleep apnea:
||Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common form of sleep apnea. In a lying position, the patient's throat tissue settles in such a way around the airway that the patient is unable to get sufficient oxygen. This can be due to excessive tissue either through their biological makeup or from weight gain.
||Central Sleep Apnea: Less common, central sleep apnea is a medical condition where the brain incorrectly processes the signals for correct breathing. This form of sleep apnea should be reviewed by your physician.
||Complex Sleep Apnea: Less common, complex sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. This is a medical condition that should be evaluated by both a medical and dental specialist as it will require multiple responses.
Dentists can assist with obstructive sleep apnea, we can offer additional solutions than CPAP devices.
Mandibular Advancement Device
Similar to a retainer or mouth guard, a mandibular advancement device is a dental appliance that is worn over the teeth while you sleep. Wearing this device modifies the positioning of your jaw, bringing your tongue forward while you sleep. This slight change in position can help many patients breathe easier and more fully while they sleep.
Do I have sleep apnea?
In general, a patient’s partner is the first to note the signs of sleep apnea. The most obvious sign is the presence of loud snoring, which is an indication of air passing through tissue. Another sign would be the stop of snoring followed by a gasping for air. This means that the patient went for a period not getting the air they needed until the brain jolted them awake to breathe. This jolt often does not fully wake the person, only enough for them to get the air they need, but does impact their sleep cycle. If a partner has not noted signs, there are symptoms you can look for in yourself. Patients with sleep apnea often feel like they are not getting a full night's rest, they may be tired, wake with headaches, have a dry mouth or be aware that they have been snoring.