Sleep Apnea/Oral Appliances
The team here at Todd L. Jolly, DMD are experts in dealing with sleep apnea problems.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can cause a significant drop in the patient’s quality of life. It is recognized mainly by its nature of temporarily rendering the patient unable to breathe. While this may sound alarming, the patient wakes up, allowing them to breathe again. Another characteristic is very loud snoring. This is more likely to be problematic for the patient’s partner if they have one.
Sleep apnea is generally caused by the relaxation of muscles when we fall asleep. As the muscles in the mouth and throat relax, so they cave in toward the esophagus. This blocks the airway, preventing the patient from breathing. Even if the airways are not completely blocked, the restricted passageway causes the tissues at the back of the mouth to vibrate as air is forced through them. This is what causes snoring.
Our team of experts are highly qualified and experienced in dealing with cases of sleep apnea. We will often recommend oral appliance therapy. This means the use of an appliance that looks very similar to the type of mouthguard that sports people wear. The mouthguard works by holding the lower jaw forward when the patient is sleeping. This helps to prevent the area at the back of the mouth from becoming congested and blocked.
Our team will also make a mouthguard for you so that it fits you perfectly, making it as comfortable to wear as possible. We achieve this by first taking an impression of the mouth so that we know its dimensions precisely. This is important because you might otherwise have difficulty sleeping if the mouthpiece is at all uncomfortable.
In severe cases, a CPAP mask may be necessary. This is a mask, similar to an oxygen mask, that the patient will need to wear at night. It works by maintaining a constant air pressure in the mouth to prevent the tissues from caving in. Although effective, this solution is quite uncomfortable and can make it difficult for the patient to sleep. For this reason, we will usually recommend oral appliance therapy instead.
Who is at Risk?
There are various reasons why somebody might develop sleep apnea. Age is one contributing factor, and it is most likely to occur in people over the age of 40. Obesity is another factor because it can lead to excess fat and other tissues in the mouth and throat area. Another contributing factor is allergies, while simply having a large tongue can also cause sleep apnea.
In addition to the slight risks associated with sleep apnea, it can also make the patient’s life difficult. After all, not being able to sleep well at night can leave you tired every day. The good news is that our team is on hand to help.
Schedule Your Consultation Appointment
If you think you may have sleep apnea, we can help! Call (973) 235-0333 to schedule your consultation appointment today!