Snoring may seem like a harmless annoyance when in reality, it can actually signify a deeper problem. Some people who snore suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to stop breathing while they are asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person's airway becomes blocked as they sleep. This type of sleep apnea can be treated by dentists using oral appliance therapy. If you're interested in getting a better and safer night's sleep through the use of oral appliances, you may benefit from these three tips:
1. Have your oral appliance made by a dentist.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause brain damage and even death if it is left untreated. You can find some non-prescription oral appliances available over the counter. Mouthguards designed to be molded to your teeth using hot water may seem like an affordable alternative to professionally made oral appliances. However, these mouthguards typically don't fit as well as prescription alternatives. Additionally, they may not fulfill the same function as an oral appliance designed to treat sleep apnea. It's always best to have your sleep apnea treated by a dentist instead of trying to deal with it on your own.
2. Expect an adjustment period.
Oral appliances are designed to open your airway by advancing your jaw or holding your tongue in place. Due to their design, these appliances may not be comfortable right away. While your oral appliance will be custom-made to fit your mouth, it can still feel strange to have a foreign object over your teeth or tongue. Initially, you may wake up in the mornings to find that your jaw feels sore after a night of wearing your oral appliance. This temporary discomfort is to be expected as your body adjusts. It's important to be patient and continue wearing your oral appliance to obtain its benefits.
3. Talk to your dentist if your oral appliance prevents you from sleeping.
While some discomfort is to be expected when adjusting to a new oral appliance, severe pain is not normal. If your oral appliance causes you severe discomfort or prevents you from sleeping, you should call your dentist. You may need to have your oral appliance adjusted to better suit your needs. Your dentist will ask you to bring your oral appliance to their office for a fit check. Based on the symptoms you describe and a visual examination of your oral appliance, your dentist can make the necessary adjustments.
If you snore and think you may have sleep apnea, talk to your dentist or a professional near you to try sleep apnea oral appliance therapy.