Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder affecting millions of Americans, but many may go years without realizing it. People with OSA stop breathing at night when the muscles in their tongue and throat relax and constrict their airway. While there are many factors that can contribute to sleep apnea, such as smoking and drinking alcohol or excess weight, your oral health plays a big role. Tooth decay, malocclusion, and dental crowding prevent your teeth from resting together properly, which can restrict your airway and put you at a higher risk for sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea has a wide range of devastating health effects, including hypertension, depression, and anxiety, and without treatment, it can be a life-threatening issue. Your dentist can work with you by treating decay and working with you to improve your resting oral posture, so your airway can remain open while you sleep. However, there is another, more immediate way they can offer relief.
While improving your oral health may help in the long run, the dentists at Wicker Park Dental Group can help you get relief much sooner by crafting you a custom-fitted sleep guard. This oral appliance works by pushing your jaw forward and keeping your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth, creating more space for your airway. Patients with OSA that use nightguards can achieve deeper sleep for longer so their brain and body can get the full benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth to send to the dental lab, where they will create your nightguard. Once it’s ready, you’ll come into the office to evaluate the fit and learn the best ways to clean and care for it to help it last longer and prevent issues with your oral health. Nightguards don’t work for all forms of sleep apnea, so it’s crucial that your dentist works with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your issues. To learn more about how we can help, contact our office in Chicago, IL, today at (773) 276-5566 to set up your consultation.