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Loud snoring that interrupts your breathing and wakes you up throughout the night can have long-term effects on your health and wellbeing. Keep reading to learn how our dentists can help you treat sleep apnea in Columbia with a customized oral appliance.
Overview of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleeping disorder that causes frequent interruptions in breathing while sleeping, preventing you from receiving the proper amount of oxygen your body needs. This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and may even lead to more serious complications, including type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure. While this sleeping disorder can occur at any age, it’s very common in people over the age of 40.
What Are the Most Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
People with sleep apnea often feel sleepy or fatigued during the day. Other common symptoms include:
- Choking or gasping for air while sleeping
- Loud snoring
- Brief pauses in breathing during sleep
- Having a dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Waking up with a headache
Sleep Apnea Causes: What Increases Your Risk?
During your waking hours, the muscles in your throat are stiff. This helps air flow into your lungs. When you’re sleeping, your throat muscles relax, causing your airway to narrow and become obstructed when you breathe in. The following risk factors can also make you more likely to develop this sleeping disorder:
- Male gender
- Large neck size (greater than 16 inches)
- Alcohol use
- Family history of the disorder
What Are Sleep Apnea Treatment Options?
Our dentists have helped numerous patients relieve their symptoms by wearing a custom-made dental appliance. This treatment option prevents interruptions in your breathing by changing the position of your jaw and tongue, which helps your airway stay open. Making some small adjustments to your lifestyle may also improve your symptoms, such as sleeping on your side instead of your back and maintaining a healthy weight. In advanced cases, surgery may be needed. If your sleep is disrupted by pauses in your breathing or frequent snoring, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We’ll help you determine if you can benefit from a customized oral appliance.
How Does an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea Work?
A sleep apnea mouthpiece is very similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. During your appointment, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth. The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory where your device will be made. You’ll come back to our office for a fitting once your device has been made, and your dentist will ensure the optimal fit of your oral appliance and make any adjustments as needed. Your dentist will also tell you how to clean your device and maintain it over time.
You’ll only wear the device while sleeping, and it works by gently maintaining your jaw in a forward position. This keeps your airway expended while minimizing snoring and interruptions in breathing. If you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea in Columbia, contact our office to make an appointment so you can learn more about how you can benefit from an oral appliance.
What Is the Cost of an Oral Appliance?
The cost of your sleep apnea mouth guard can vary, depending on the type of device you receive and if you have medical insurance. We invite you to call our office to learn more about the cost of an oral appliance.
How Can I Benefit From Oral Appliance Therapy Treatment (OAT)?
Oral appliance therapy treatment offers many benefits to patients. In addition to reducing frequent snoring and improving sleep quality, our patients find that their oral appliance is easy to take care of, and its small size is perfect for traveling. Since your device is custom-made based on the shape of your mouth, it’s comfortable to wear every night while you’re sleeping. Unlike most other treatments for this condition, oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that can reduce your symptoms without requiring surgery. To learn more about how you can benefit from oral appliance therapy, call our office to schedule your appointment.
Is My Oral Appliance Covered by Insurance?
If you have dental insurance, your plan may cover some or all of the costs associated with your oral appliance. We recommend contacting your insurance provider for more information about coverage for oral appliance therapy.
Our experienced team cares about helping our patients breathe well for a healthy night’s sleep. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you with an oral appliance for sleep apnea in Columbia.