Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person's breathing becomes interrupted during sleep, often causing the person to wake up momentarily. This usually results in many short periods of time without breathing throughout the night and can lead to sleep disruptions, such as waking up in the middle of the night or being unable to fall asleep in the first place.
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses, blocking the airway and preventing oxygen from passing through the nose and mouth into the lungs. This is usually caused by an obstruction in the airways, and this can be as slight as a swollen tonsil to as large as an extra-large neck. However, there are many other factors that can contribute to sleep apnea, including being overweight, having a recessed chin, or having excessively thick tissue in your throat. Having a large tongue can also contribute to this problem.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Oral Health?
Sleep apnea causes you to temporarily stop breathing while you sleep. This may happen hundreds of times per night without you even knowing. The reason this happens is that your airway is blocked, either by your tongue falling back into your throat or by your own muscles relaxing too much while you are sleeping. The lack of oxygen can cause constant headaches in the morning and affect your sleep quality at night.
The constant pressure applied to your teeth due to grinding or clenching your jaw can lead to problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can then cause pain in and around your ears and in your mouth every time you use your mouth to speak, eat, chew, or even yawn. Many people who grind their teeth while sleeping don't even know they're doing it – most don't even wake up when they do it. But over time, the constant pressure and friction can increase the risk of tooth decay and cause serious damage to your jaw.
Both of these issues can be treated with a custom-made night guard that is worn when you sleep. The night guard is molded to fit snugly over your teeth to prevent grinding and to keep your tongue from blocking your airway. This can drastically improve your overall quality of sleep and help you feel much better in the morning, during, and after your sleep.
What Is A Nightguard?
A night guard is a type of mouth guard that is worn at night to prevent teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw. Night guards can be custom-made to fit comfortably in your mouth and are an essential part of preventing sleep apnea. If you are suffering from sleep apnea and have issues with snoring, you may want to consider talking to your dentist about a custom mouthpiece to help you get a good night's rest.
What Can A Nightguard Do To Treat Sleep Apnea?
For many patients, a night guard is used to treat mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea. For these patients, using a night guard can prevent the soft tissue of the throat from collapsing into the airways during sleep, which can help keep air flowing freely all throughout the night. These mouthguards work by pushing the lower jaw and tongue forward, thus keeping the airway open. This can greatly help patients get a good night's sleep without waking up feeling exhausted.
Are Night Guards Effective?
Snoring and sleep apnea is no joke, and it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. A custom night guard is an oral protective appliance intended to treat snoring and/or mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The night guard works by holding the lower jaw forward during sleep to prevent the airway from collapsing. This helps to open the airway and reduce snoring and OSA symptoms. Studies have determined that this oral appliance is effective in more than 70% of patients.
Custom-made night guards are much more effective than over-the-counter versions because they fit more comfortably and allow the wearer to breathe better. Some types of OSA may require surgery, but the majority of patients can successfully treat their condition with one of these mouthguards. Night guards are comfortable and easy to use and can offer relief throughout the night.
It is important to be fitted for a custom-made night guard by your dentist. If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health or are interested in treating your snoring or OSA symptoms with a custom night guard, contact our office today to schedule your appointment.
At Arizona Dental, we ensure to provide each of our patients with a positive and relaxing experience. If you're ready to experience the best dental care, please contact us from your nearest location. We will be happy to guide you further.