If you suffer from snoring – or perhaps more likely, you have a partner who suffers from your snoring – there are many ways you can treat your affliction. Snoring is often the result of poor breathing habits while asleep, and sometimes those breathing problems are caused by sleep apnea. If you deal with sleep apnea issues, then you should consider oral appliance therapy.
Not only will oral appliance therapy help control and treat your sleep apnea, it can also do wonders for your snoring.
Oral appliance therapy
An oral appliance is similar to a mouth guard, and helps ensure the airway is unobstructed during sleep. It is used most commonly to treat sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that results in shallow breathing or even pauses in breathing while sleeping. The majority of the time, sleep apnea is caused by over-relaxation of the throat muscles, which can block the airway.
An oral appliance is specially fitted to fit in your mouth, and a qualified dentist can help you select a design and customize it for you. The appliance will stabilize the lower jaw and tongue, ensuring that air is able to flow freely through the throat.
Types of oral appliances
There are two different types of oral appliances:
A Mandibular Repositioning Device moves the lower jaw so that it protrudes slightly. This also moves the tongue forward, and helps make the airway larger. A dentist must properly fit a mandibular repositioning device to you.
The second option is a Tongue Retaining Device. This piece fits in the front of the mouth and holds the tongue, while also pulling it forward. The pulling of the tongue prevents the back of the tongue from collapsing, which can block the airway in the throat.
Both types of oral appliances can be effective for treating sleep apnea and snoring. Your dentist can help you decide which device is best for you, and ultimately set you up with the proper treatment as well.