Sleep apnea has become an increasingly serious concern due to its significant health risks, with nearly 39 million Americans suffering from this debilitating condition. Since the mouth’s position plays a big role in sleep apnea, it’s not a surprise that dentists can make a massive impact on this health concern. According to the American Dental Association, dentists play a vital role in identifying patients suffering from sleep-related breathing disorders.

While CPAP machines have been used with varying degrees of success, the discomfort and cumbersome apparatus turn some people away. That’s where a dentist can help. Oral appliances are becoming increasingly popular methods for those suffering from sleep apnea symptoms like loud snoring, episodes of stopped breathing during sleep or waking during the night, and gasping or choking.

Read on to discover how the right dentist in Central New Jersey can help you with sleep apnea with the help of an oral appliance.

How Dentists Approach Sleep Apnea Treatment

Dentists approach obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea by first conducting a thorough review of the patient's medical history to identify any symptoms related to sleep-related breathing disorders. This information is crucial in determining the appropriate course of action for each patient.

Following the initial assessment, dentists may conduct a physical examination and recommend a sleep assessment to further evaluate the severity of the condition. This comprehensive approach allows dentists to make informed decisions about the most suitable treatment options for their patients.

Oral appliances have been found to help sleep apnea symptoms and many dentists are leveraging this tool to help their patients. Oral appliances are devices inserted into the mouth to assist in maintaining an open airway while a person sleeps.

How Does an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea Function?

An oral appliance, much like an orthodontic retainer, is placed over the teeth to keep the jaw in a forward position, preventing the airway from closing. It consists of an upper and lower section connected by a piston and tube, which restricts how much the jaw moves backward. When the muscles relax during deep sleep, the tubes lower, holding the chin in a forward position. This keeps the airway open throughout the night, allowing the patient to breathe normally.

By repositioning the jaw, these devices help open the upper airway without requiring surgery or the use of breathing machines. They effectively stop the tongue and soft tissues at the back of the throat from collapsing, ensuring proper airflow. This approach eliminates the need for oral surgery or CPAP machines.

Unlike CPAP machines, which require the use of a mask and continuous airflow, oral appliances are non-invasive and more comfortable for many patients. They are also easier to travel with, making them a convenient option for those who need to manage their sleep apnea while on the go.

The Benefits of an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea

  • Non-invasive: Oral appliances are a non-surgical treatment option for sleep apnea, making them less invasive than other alternatives.
  • Comfortable: Many patients find oral appliances more comfortable to use than CPAP machines, as they are worn inside the mouth and do not require a mask.
  • Portable: Oral appliances are easy to travel with, making them a convenient option for individuals who need to manage their sleep apnea while on the go.
  • Customizable: Oral appliances are custom-made to fit each patient's mouth, ensuring a comfortable and effective fit.
  • Improved sleep quality: By helping to keep the airway open during sleep, oral appliances can improve sleep quality for individuals with sleep apnea.
  • Reduced snoring: Oral appliances can also help reduce snoring, which is a common symptom of sleep apnea.
  • Avoidance of surgery: Using an oral appliance can help some patients avoid surgical interventions for sleep apnea treatment.
  • Better compliance: Some patients find oral appliances easier to use consistently compared to CPAP machines, leading to better treatment compliance.

Choosing the Right Dentist for Sleep Apnea Treatment in Central New Jersey

When seeking treatment for sleep apnea, it's essential to choose a dentist in Central New Jersey who has experience and expertise in dental sleep medicine. Dentists with this specialized training can provide the most effective care and ensure that the oral appliance is tailored to meet the patient's specific needs.

At Smiles Family Dentistry, our mission is to bring world-class dental care to the communities across New Jersey that we care so deeply about. Our team of dental experts believes that everyone should have access to the best dental care — and that includes relief for sleep apnea. We have three convenient locations in Central New Jersey, including South Brunswick Township, Robbinsville Township in Mercer County, and Hillsborough.

Without the need for oral surgery or a disruptive and uncomfortable CPAP machine, Smiles Family Dentistry provides non-invasive yet effective sleep relief for sleep apnea by custom-fitting patients with an oral appliance.

Ready to restore your sleep with a non-invasive, sleep apnea oral appliance in Central New Jersey?