Dr. Mitchell Quintner
Sometimes snoring is just snoring, but for more than 18 million Americans snoring is the result of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is caused by soft tissue in the mouth and throat regions relaxing and obstructing airways during sleep. These obstructions interrupt breathing, reducing oxygen, and often causing the sleeper to wake. With these continuous disruptions, the sleeper will remain unrested, tired, and this can often contribute to serious medical issues.
But what does this have to do with dentistry? Simple. We have a mouth guard-like devise that changes the airflow during sleep, opening up the obstructions and allowing for a more restful night. The Sleep Apnea oral appliance, or Sleep Guard, supports the jaw in a forward position to maintain an open upper airway.
Sleep apnea can appear at any time or age, but is most often correlated with men with excess weight and women in menopause. Untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to an unfortunate number of medical problems, including stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and acid reflux.
Most patients associate sleep apnea with CPAP masks, but the dental Sleep Guard offers an alternative. CPAP mask wearers often complain of nose irritation, the mask coming off, and having issues adjusting to comfortable positions in their sleep. The Sleep Guard, on the other hand does not restrict movement in any way, nor does it interfere with the sensitive skin on the face and of the nose.
Sleep Guards are created simply by taking a mold or scan of the mouth, which can be sent to a dental lab. On a return appointment, the Sleep Guard is fitted and further customized to achieve the optimal fit to your particular mouth.
There are over-the-counter options available, but they pose risks. Because they lack customized fit, they often do not work correctly and can cause the soft tissue issues to worsen over time, increasing the problem.
Cost can be a concern to some, but Sleep Guards are often covered by both medical and dental insurances, and are dramatically less expensive than their CPAP mask alternatives. It is worth talking to your dentist and seeing what options you have and how a Sleep Guard can benefit you.
To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling (203) 878-6699. The specialists at Sensitive Care Cosmetic & Family Dentistry proudly serve patients and their families in Milford, Stratford, West Haven, New Haven, and all surrounding communities.