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How do Oral Appliances Help With Sleep Apnea?

How do Oral Appliances Help Prevent Sleep Apnea?

If you have sleep apnea, you might think your only solution is using a cumbersome CPAP machine or undergoing surgery. And while those options may be necessary for some, oral appliances are another solution for those with mild to moderate versions of the condition.

More convenient than an air pressure machine and less invasive than surgery, oral appliances from dentist Dr. Mike McCarthy in Camarillo, CA can keep you sleeping safely and soundly.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when your airway becomes blocked for 10 or more seconds, leading the oxygen level in the blood to decrease and the blood pressure and heart rate to increase. This can be caused by smoking, aging, excess body weight, severe allergies or other health conditions.

How can an oral device help with sleep apnea?

Depending on the cause and severity of your sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend using a CPAP machine or having surgery. However, your dentist may able to treat your condition using an oral device, the most common being the mandibular advancement device.

Resembling a mouth guard, this device fits over the upper and lower dental arches, allowing the lower jaw to move forward to keep your tongue from blocking your airway. Custom fitted by your dentist at our Camarillo office, the device will fit comfortably so you can drift off with ease and have less disruptive slumber. The use of this device can also reduce the volume and frequency of your snoring.

Another oral device used for sleep apnea is a tongue retaining device, composed of a splint that holds the tongue in place to keep your airway open.

Are there side effects from using an oral appliance?

While a popular choice due to its convenience, comfort and portability, oral appliances can cause issues such as dry lips, increased salivation, shifting of the teeth or possibly TMJ, a form of arthritis in the mandibular joint.

Make sure to consult with your dentist at our Camarillo office about the pros and cons of an oral appliance.

How do I maintain the effectiveness of my oral appliance?

After your initial fitting, you will need to return for periodic checkups on the effectiveness of your device. Your dentist can provide any necessary adjustments and replace your device if it becomes damaged or ineffective.

Call Dr. McCarthy in Camarillo, CA today at (805) 482-3214 to learn more about oral appliances for your sleep apnea.

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