Dental appliances for sleep apnea help you sleep better in Newport Beach, CA
Chronic snoring, waking up feeling unrested, and brain fog—many people assume these are just nuisances associated with getting older, but they can be signs of a serious health condition called sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that prevents your brain from getting enough oxygen, which can have negative, and even deadly, health consequences. Dr. John Ravera, a dentist in Newport Beach, CA, creates custom-fitted dental appliances for sleep apnea so you can start sleeping more soundly and feeling your best.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that affects an estimated 22 million people in the United States. It can have potentially deadly consequences, and part of what makes it so insidious is that many people don’t even know they have it—in fact, it is estimated that 80 percent of moderate to severe sleep apnea cases are undiagnosed.
There are three main sleep apnea types:
- Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, typically because the tongue and soft tissues collapse against the throat, which closes off the airway. It is the most common and the type that can be remedied with a dental appliance.
- Central sleep apnea does not involve an obstructed airway and instead occurs when the brain does not signal the body to breathe.
- Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.
When you stop breathing due to sleep apnea, you may snore, choke, or gasp for air, and it typically causes you to partially awaken—sometimes up to hundreds of times per night. This fragments your sleep and prevents you from getting enough good-quality sleep for your body and brain to function correctly. Other symptoms associated with sleep apnea include waking up with a dry mouth or throat, frequently needing to reposition yourself when you are sleeping, and taking numerous trips to the bathroom per night.
Because it deprives your body of oxygen that is critical for proper functioning in all parts of your body, sleep apnea has been linked to a variety of serious health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
- Mood disorders, such as depression
- Headaches and migraines
How dental appliances for sleep apnea work
Dental appliances for obstructive sleep apnea are also called “Mandibular Advancement Devices.” They are custom-fitted oral appliances that look much like a sports mouthguard. They only need to be worn at night while you are sleeping and work by pressing the tongue down, moving your jaw into a slightly forward position, and keeping your mouth slightly open. These adjustments work together to help open your airway, allowing air to pass more freely and decreasing the incidence of snoring or sleep apnea.
Dental appliances vs. CPAP machines
Positive airway pressure machines, also called CPAP machines, are the gold standard in sleep apnea treatment. These machines can be highly effective at treating sleep apnea when used correctly every night, but many times, patients are unable to use them properly or give up on their use because they are loud, uncomfortable, involve an invasive face mask, and disturb their partner’s sleep.
For patients who are unable to tolerate a CPAP machine, or who have mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances are a recognized solution for sleep apnea. They are easy to take care of, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has approved oral appliance therapy as first-line therapy in mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliances can also be used in conjunction with CPAP machines in more severe sleep apnea cases to achieve better results. When used with a CPAP machine, it reduces the pressure on the machine and makes it more comfortable.
Learn more in a consultation
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea or have been diagnosed with the condition, it is important for your health to seek treatment as soon as possible. To diagnose sleep apnea, a physician will order a sleep test at home or in a sleep center. For patients who have the condition, Dr. John Ravera can then evaluate your results and make the best recommendation for you, which may be a customized dental appliance. He will talk with you about how to use the device when to wear it and answer any questions you have. Stop snoring and start sleeping better by calling John Ravera, D.D.S. General and Cosmetic Dentistry in Newport Beach, CA today! New patients can reach us at 949-877-3606 and existing patients can call our office at 949-706-7097.Back to Sleep Apnea Page