Intraoral Sleep Disturbances
Snoring affects millions of people of all ages, both male and female. In severe cases, you may stop breathing for periods of time during sleep. This is called sleep apnea, and is a dangerous medical condition, usually diagnosed from a sleep study. There is a direct correlation between sleep disturbances and gastric reflux, attention deficit disorder (ADD), obesity, and sexual dysfunction.
Oral appliances are the most common treatment for snoring, and one of three choices available for the treatment of sleep apnea.
The three treatments for sleep apnea are intra-oral appliances, surgery, and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines. The best way to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea is the intra-oral appliance. For severe sleep apnea, the CPAP machine is the best, however 50% of people cannot tolerate even the newer machines. So 50% of the severe cases should also be treated with the intra-oral appliances. Surgery has not been as successful due the multiple factors involved in blockage of your airway.
Snoring is caused by vibrations of your soft palate during mouth breathing. Mouth breathing occurs because of increasingly narrowed airway passages, caused by enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, elongated soft palates and uvulas, hypertrophied turbinate bones in your nose, deviated septums, chronic allergies, chronic sinus problems, obesity, alcohol use, and poor tongue muscle tone.
Dental appliances can be fitted to help prevent sleep disturbances. Oral appliance therapy involves an intra-oral device that assists breathing by opening the airway. Maintaining a normal breathing pattern reduces the long term effects of sleep disorders which create even greater health problems.
Several types of intra-oral dental appliances are available to help alleviate sleep disorders. No matter which treatment is best for you, diagnosing your sleep issues is the first step to a healthier lifestyle.