Sleep apnea is a condition in which patients suffer irregular breathing patterns during sleep, resulting in potentially serious long-term health implications. The experienced dentists at Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group offer sleep apnea treatment at our Boston, MA, office using customized oral appliance therapy. Sleep apnea can affect patients of any age, including children. However, it is most common in male patients over the age of 40, especially those who are overweight. While lifestyle changes such as weight loss can improve symptoms, additional treatments are often necessary.
Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea. However, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common. Obstructive sleep apnea involves a collapse of the soft tissues at the back of the throat. The collapse of these tissues causes frequent stops in breathing as you sleep. Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans, many of whom never seek a diagnosis or treatment.
Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans, many of whom never seek a diagnosis or treatment.
In addition to the disrupted sleep, which can cause insomnia and extreme fatigue, sleep apnea can cause a variety of other serious health complications. Patients may eventually suffer from:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
- Chronic headaches
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) requires the patient to wear a mask each night. This mask is attached to a machine that forces air through a hose and into the mask, which covers the nose and/or mouth. This continuous air pressure keeps the airways open and helps prevent the collapse of soft tissues to eliminate the interruptions in breathing. Unfortunately, these masks are often uncomfortable and bulky.
When you come to Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group for sleep apnea treatment, we offer an alternative to CPAP therapy that has great success for many patients. We can fit you with a custom oral appliance to wear each night. An oral appliance works by moving the lower jaw forward slightly, which helps keep the airway open by preventing tissue collapse. These appliances are individually made for comfort, and fit over the teeth similar to a sports guard or retainer. We typically recommend oral appliances as a first line of treatment, or as an alternative for patients who want to avoid CPAP therapy.
If oral appliances and CPAP therapy are both ineffective, surgery is another treatment option. Surgical treatment involves removing excess tissues to widen the airway. It is a last-resort treatment option, as it is the most invasive. Most patients find that with an oral appliance, their symptoms of sleep apnea are significantly reduced.
Advantages of Custom Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances are one of the most effective sleep apnea treatment options available. It is the preferred method by many patients because of the custom fit and comfort. Patients start seeing the benefits of oral appliance therapy after just a couple nights. After you begin using your oral appliance, you will enjoy uninterrupted and more restful sleep. Better quality sleep will give you more energy throughout your day, and can eliminate chronic headaches, dry mouth, and other symptoms of sleep apnea. Continual use of your oral appliance can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other serious health problems.
With our customized sleep apnea treatments, your quality of life can improve greatly. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.