Sleep Apnea Treatment

Man with sleep apnea snoring in bed

Oral Appliance Therapy For Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic condition that interrupts sleep. There are several different ways to treat it, including lifestyle changes, CPAP devices, oral appliance therapy (OAT), and surgery. At Rangel Dental, our dentists and staff understand that caring for your overall health is just as critical as taking good care of your teeth. If you’re suffering from OSA, our sleep apnea dentists can help you find solutions that may give you some relief.

Better Understanding Sleep Apnea

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the upper airway is partially or completely blocked. When the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep, it may block the airway, and those with untreated sleep apnea may stop breathing hundreds of times during the night. When your breathing is paused or becomes shallow, your quality of sleep suffers. Obstructive sleep apnea can also reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs, causing issues with heart rhythm, and lead to daytime drowsiness and an inability to concentrate.

Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The signs of OSA are often first identified by a patient’s bed partner. Common symptoms of OSA include:

• Snoring
• Sudden awakening with a sound of gasping or choking
• Restlessness during sleep
• Night sweats
• Dry mouth or sore throat
• Headaches
• Daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, moodiness, and forgetfulness
• Sexual dysfunction

Children with sleep apnea may also exhibit symptoms like learning and behavioral problems, sluggishness, bedwetting, and difficulty swallowing.

Treatment For Sleep Apnea

Many patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea use a custom removable oral appliance, which adjusts the position of the lower jaw and tongue to minimize airway obstruction. Patients who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea often use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device. It requires you to wear a mask over your mouth and nose while the machine softly blows air into your throat while you’re sleeping. This air pressure helps keep your airway open. More severe cases of sleep apnea may require surgery to widen the breathing passages.

How Does OAT For Sleep Apnea Work?

Oral appliance therapy is typically used to treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. This dental appliance looks much like a mouth guard but helps open the upper airway by shifting the lower jaw forward. Our dentists are well-versed in treating sleep apnea and can consult with your sleep specialist to determine if this treatment is an effective option for you.

If you are a candidate for OAT, we take an impression of your teeth and send them to a dental laboratory, where your appliance is custom-crafted. Once your sleep apnea appliance is ready, we try it in and make any necessary adjustments. You will likely return to our office periodically to have your sleep apnea dentist make further adjustments and check to see if it’s working properly.

Benefits Of Oral Appliance Therapy For Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OAT can be an effective option for patients who have a hard time tolerating CPAP. It can help reduce or eliminate snoring and improve OSA symptoms like daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration, and irritability. An oral appliance doesn’t require electricity to work and is easy to take along when traveling. If you have questions or concerns about oral appliance therapy, make sure to discuss them with your dentist. We’re happy to provide any information you may find helpful.

Contact Us To Learn More About Oral Appliance Therapy For OSA

At Rangel Dental, we’re dedicated to serving your dental care needs in needs in a welcoming, comfortable environment. To learn more about OAT for sleep apnea and the other services we offer, contact us online or call 973-292-0001 to schedule an appointment with a sleep apnea dentist.