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Oral Appliances To Prevent Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea consists of three different types, the most common being obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  When a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is made, it means that there is a mechanical blockage affecting your breathing during the time that you are asleep. However, obstructive sleep apnea may negatively affect structures in the mouth as well as breathing issues during sleep. Addressing behaviors of your mouth and jaw that occur during sleep may be the solution that you need. Dr. Michael Lorio at Town Center Dental Care located in Wilsonville, OR treats sleep apnea and all of its related symptoms.

Obstructive sleep apnea explained

A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea means that something is blocking your airway during your time spent asleep. Most often, what happens is that the muscles located in the back of the throat become too relaxed and collapse.  This will block your airway and may lead to you waking up and gasping for breath multiple times throughout the night.  Also, perhaps your tongue is too large to properly fit inside of your mouth.  Or, the opposite may be the cause being that your jaw is too small to accommodate your tongue. 

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Symptoms that you may be experiencing that can result from obstructive sleep apnea can be any or all of the following:

  • Interrupted sleep
  • Waking multiple times during sleep gasping for air
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Feeling lethargic throughout the day
  • Decaying teeth and a receding gumline
  • Mouth Sores

The decay of teeth and receding gums may certainly be caused by other diagnoses, but in terms of obstructive sleep apnea, they are due to breathing with an open mouth during sleep, leading to a dry mouth.  A dry mouth will allow for more plaque accumulation, sores, and periodontal disease.  Dr. Lorio located in Wilsonville, OR effectively treats sleep apnea.

How oral appliances may help

If you have a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea and have tried and found it difficult to tolerate a CPAP machine, there are other options. 

One option consists of your dentist creating a custom device to wear at night, similar to a nightguard you may purchase at your local pharmacy. But it functions differently.  He will use a mold of your mouth to create the nightguard.   Another option is a dental splint, called an occlusal splint.  These devices slightly reposition the jaw by moving it slightly forward, keeping the airway open.  Your dentist may also recommend that you wear a tongue re-training device while you sleep, preventing it from blocking the airway.

Treat your sleep apnea symptoms in Wilsonville, OR with Dr. Michael Lorio at Town Center Dental Care. Schedule a consultation today by calling (503) 682-9191.

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