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How Teeth Can Affect Your Sleep

Sleep apnea, a common and serious sleep disorder, occurs when normal breathing is interrupted during sleep. One of the most prevalent signs of this condition is snoring. However, it’s important to note that not all individuals who snore suffer from sleep apnea.

How Teeth Can Affect Your Sleep

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Tooth Alignment

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often arises from obesity or excess weight. The position in which one sleeps can cause the airway to become obstructed as muscles relax during slumber, restricting airflow to other parts of the body. This obstruction may lead to multiple awakenings throughout the night, with gasping for air being a common occurrence. An individual suffering from OSA might wake up feeling fatigued despite having had what they perceive as a full night’s rest.

Daytime drowsiness, memory issues, and concentration problems are also frequent complaints among those affected by this condition. The alignment of teeth plays an integral role in maintaining an open airway during sleep by preventing soft tissue collapse over the passageway for oxygen intake. As such, dentists like Drs James Dickert and Agatha Lynn at West Ashley Family Dentistry have developed oral appliances designed specifically for use while sleeping.

Oral Appliances: An Alternative Treatment Option

While continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy remains a commonly prescribed treatment for OSA patients around the globe — providing constant airflow to keep the airways open during sleep — there exists another equally effective alternative: oral appliances custom-fitted by dental professionals specializing in treating conditions like OSA.

These devices work by repositioning your lower jaw forward so that your tongue doesn’t fall back into your throat, causing blockage while you’re asleep, thereby ensuring uninterrupted breathing patterns throughout your slumber period without necessitating any external force applied on your airways like in the case of CPAP machines.

Moreover, these oral appliances are sturdy enough to withstand the effects of bruxism. This is a condition when patients unconsciously grind their teeth during sleep. Oral appliances are suitable for nighttime teeth grinders as well.

Comfort and Effectiveness

What makes an oral appliance comfortable and effective is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Drs. Dickert or Lynn will meet with you to discuss your needs and gather precise measurements and your mouth’s specific details. This makes sure that the device fits comfortably inside your mouth with minimal disturbance to your sleep. Most patients report a significant reduction in snoring after using these devices consistently over time. As a result, you should have better quality sleep and overall improved daily life experiences. This is because you will have reduced fatigue levels.

Sleep apnea can have serious health implications if left untreated. For example, you can develop high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure, among others. Therefore, it’s crucial not only for those suffering from this condition to seek treatment but also for their partners. Your snoring can disrupt your partner’s sleep as well.