7055 N. Fresno St. #203B Fresno, CA 93720
If you struggle with snoring, breathing issues, and other problems when asleep, then we can provide an orthodontic solution. Sleep apnea will only continue to get worse without professional treatment. Our team can help. Sleep apnea treatment involves the use of a customized orthodontic device that helps prevent the tongue from falling back over the throat to keep the airway open and prevent sleep apnea.
Understanding Sleep Apnea Treatment
Contrary to widespread assumption, sleep apnea is much more than loud or interruptive snoring at night. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the patient stops breathing for a few seconds to even a minute during sleep. These difficulties can also include only being able to take shallow breaths for a certain amount of times each hour asleep.
The condition can interrupt sleep and make it difficult for the patient to get a good night of sleep. While a CPAP machine is a possibility, it can be uncomfortable and challenging to use. Fortunately, we can help treat sleep apnea with an oral appliance. The patient needs to identify the symptoms of sleep apnea and seek out treatment.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
According to Harvard University, untreated sleep apnea puts patients at risk for various issues. These issues range from inconvenient to negatively impacting one’s lifestyle, including symptoms such as:
- Poor mood
- Memory and cognition problems
- Difficulty focusing during the day
- Difficulty completing tasks at school or work
- Risk or drowsiness when driving
The symptoms will only continue to get worse if the patient does not seek treatment. With our treatment methods, we can help patients find the customized care they need.
The Sleep Apnea Treatment Process
A standard method to detect if a patient has sleep apnea is through a sleep study. Once the patient receives the diagnosis, they will understand the full extent of their condition. Once they receive the diagnosis for sleep apnea, they can give us a call to schedule an appointment. During the appointment, we will examine the patient's mouth and determine if oral appliance therapy is the treatment for them.
Once we verify the patient is a good candidate, we will take an impression of the mouth. With this impression, we will create a customized oral appliance. This appliance will fit the patient's teeth perfectly. When the patient returns for the fitting, we will make sure it fits properly. The length of time between both appointments can vary per patient.
After we ensure the appliance fits, we will go over proper use and care. Patients need to wear the appliance while sleeping each night. They may even need to wear it while napping. The oral appliance is easy to maintain and travel with since it is similar to a retainer.
Types of Oral Appliances
During the examination, Mark Lowe D.D.S. will determine the right kind of oral device for the treatment. While there are lots of different methods, they fall into two categories. Mandibular repositioning devices move the lower jaw down and forward to open the airway. Tongue retaining devices keep the tongue in place to open up the airway.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which oral appliance is the right choice for sleep apnea treatment?
Most patients choose mandibular repositioning devices. These devices increase the rigidity and strength of the airway, adjusting to it quickly. Tongue retaining devices are not as comfortable. Patients will most likely require several weeks to get used to them.
How long do oral appliances last?
The longevity of oral appliances depends on the design and the patient’s habits. For example, grinding the teeth shortens the life span of oral devices. Some devices last for six months, while others last for six years or more.
How do patients care for the appliance?
Patients should only put the appliance in after brushing their teeth. After removing the appliance, rinse it with lukewarm water. Patients also need to clean it with a solution and warm water every three days. We will go over the recommended solution during a consultation. Use the fingers to remove debris when cleaning and let it air dry.
Are there side effects to sleep apnea treatment?
Many patients experience short-term side effects. The orthodontist will go over potential side effects with patients. These side effects usually last a few days and include:
- Excessive salvation
- Dry mouth
- Joint pain
- Tooth pain
Long-term side effects include shifting teeth. Patients who experience this side effect should go to the orthodontist immediately. The orthodontist might need to adjust the device.
Can people with missing teeth or dentures use oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliances can be used when people have missing teeth or extensive dental work. However, patients must have at least six teeth for this sleep apnea treatment. The orthodontist will conduct a thorough examination to ensure the teeth and gums are strong enough for oral appliance therapy.
7055N Fresno St #203B Fresno, Ca 93720