What is Sleep Apnea?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea is a disorder experienced by an estimated 25 million people in the United States. When someone with the condition is sleeping, they experience “apneas” which is the clinical name for breathing interruptions.
Repeated apneas can not only disrupt sleep and deplete energy levels, but the condition can also lead to other serious health issues since the strain is put on the heart and blood pressure is increased.
Sleep apnea presents with several symptoms, including:
- Fatigue while awake
- Reduced focus while awake
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Restless nights
- Gasping or choking awake
- Sexual dysfunction
How does sleep apnea affect dental health?
Since sleep apnea impacts a patient’s breathing while they’re asleep, dental issues are commonly associated with the condition. Some of the common dental problems that sleep apnea contribute to include:
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease
- Teeth clenching or grinding (Bruxism)
How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?
Dentists are often the first line of defense when it comes to diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. They can typically spot signs of the condition by identifying evidence of the dental issues associated with sleep apnea, like swollen gums, dry mouth, tooth decay, and worn teeth.
A Liberty mandibular advance device dentist can also fit sleep apnea patients with a Mandibular Advance Device (MAD) to help treat sleep apnea.
How does a mandibular advance device work?
A MAD looks and functions much like a mouthguard. It’s custom-made to fit perfectly over your teeth and is typically made with hard plastic material. The device reduces the effects of sleep apnea by moving the tongue and lower jaw forward, which effectively opens the patient’s airway while they’re asleep. This reduces the number of apneas as well as snoring since the airway is less restricted.
What to expect when visiting a Liberty mandibular advance device dentist
Here’s what you can expect when you get fitted for a MAD for sleep apnea treatment:
The first step is to be officially diagnosed with a sleep apnea disorder.
Not sure if a MAD will work for you? That’s what we’re here for. Talk to our dental specialists today to discuss your symptoms and sleep apnea treatment options! Give us a call at (816) 429-5799.
Common questions about MAD sleep apnea
Is it painful to wear a MAD?
How long do mandibular advancement devices last?
Do MADs have any side effects?
There may be some side effects experienced by some patients while using the MAD sleep apnea device, but they are fairly minor and include:
- Dry mouth upon waking
- Overproduction of saliva
- Stiff or sore jaw
- Slight toothaches
The dentist will monitor your oral health at follow-up appointments to be sure there are no teeth alignment issues presenting due to device adjustments being needed.
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Our Liberty office
Kansas City, MO 64157
Jackson Family Dental is conveniently located right off of Route 152. Enjoy our spa-like atmosphere and family-friendly approach. We look forward to seeing you!