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Oral Appliance Therapy For Snoring

couple sleeping in bedIf you snore, it can be an indication that you have obstructive sleep apnea, which blocks your airways as you sleep and causes dangerous pauses in breathing. Many people who snore find that oral appliance therapy provides the quiet, restful sleep they need and alleviates symptoms associated with sleep apnea, such as daytime drowsiness and headaches.

In this blog, Dr. Marc Levin of eos dental sleep explains how oral appliance therapy may be able to help your snoring.

What causes snoring?

Snoring occurs when the muscles in the roof of your mouth, tongue, and throat relax. Your tongue falls backward, and as the tissues in your throat relax, they partially obstruct your airway and vibrate, which causes the sound you make when you snore. The narrower your airway, the more your airflow becomes forced, which causes the tissues to vibrate more and make your snoring louder.

This obstruction of airflow can occur because of factors that include the following:

  • Bulky throat tissue – This is more likely to happen if you’re overweight or have large adenoids and/or tonsils.
  • Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue – Muscles can relax too much and block your airway. This often happens as a result of the normal aging process but can also be worsened by the use of alcohol or sleeping pills.

What is oral appliance therapy?

Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for people who snore and have mild to moderate sleep apnea, as well as those with severe sleep apnea who can’t tolerate the use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines. Although these machines are often the first type of treatment recommended, many people find them to be so uncomfortable that they use them only intermittently or stop using them completely.

What is an oral appliance?

This custom-made device is similar to an orthodontic retainer or a mouth guard worn during sports.

Your doctor will take physical or digital impressions and models of your teeth and mouth and send these to a lab for your custom-made appliance to be created. It will be fitted in-office, and your device will be tested and adjusted over time to make sure it’s comfortable and effective.

How do oral appliances work to treat snoring?

The appliance is worn only at night to gently coax your tongue, jaw, and/or soft tissues of the throat forward to help keep your airway open. Your doctor can recommend a specific type of oral appliance to correct the issue that’s causing your blocked airway and snoring.

Many people find an oral appliance easy to wear, comfortable, and effective. It often enables patients who can’t tolerate using a CPAP machine to get the effective treatment they need.

To find out more about oral appliance therapy, contact eos dental sleep for an appointment today!