How Do Sleep Apnea Devices Work?


Snoring can seem like a minor, but annoying problem – mostly for the person you’re sleeping next to. Common assumptions about snoring include it being caused by sleeping position or nasal blockages, that everybody does it, and that there’s nothing you can really do to stop it.

While some snoring isn’t always serious, it can be an indication of an underlying health issue called sleep apnea. This happens when your breathing is interrupted throughout the sleep cycle, usually by a collapse of the tissue at the back of the throat. This decreases levels of oxygen reaching the brain and circulating in the blood, which normally wakes you up several times throughout the night. The results can manifest in constant exhaustion, headaches, and even depression. One way to treat sleep apnea is with a specialized device that keeps the airways open and reduces snoring.

Types of Devices

There are two main kinds of sleep apnea aids: ones that include a face mask and hose fitted to a machine that pushes pressurized air into the breathing passages, and a dental appliance that is fitted to your teeth and mouth. Of the two, the dental option is the least complicated and the most quiet, so you don’t have to substitute snoring for the sound of your sleep aid operating.

How Dental Sleep Apnea Appliances Work

An oral sleep apnea device helps more air get through your throat by removing the blockage, keeping up oxygen levels in your blood and brain, and helping to alleviate snoring. For dental appliances like these, there are also two types: ones that keep the tongue in a forward position (so that it doesn’t block the throat during sleep) and ones that realign the lower jaw so that it prevents the tongue and muscles in the airway from collapsing.

How To Get One

While over the counter aids like this can be found in stores, oral sleep apnea appliances work best when fitted to your teeth and mouth exactly. A custom fit reduces slipping and discomfort. Your dentist can provide you with an Intraoral Snoring Therapy (IST) Appliance that is tailored to you and made so that you can open and close your mouth, move your jaw, and sleep comfortably when wearing it.

Sleep easier by stopping in at My Family Dentistry, where you can be fitted with a sleep apnea device by Dr. Wes Mullins. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on our educational seminars, events and other dentistry news.

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