Sleep Apnea is a condition that affects up to 25% of people in Canada, but the first thought won’t usually be to seek help from a dentist; however, there are many ways in which they can help. If a patient is suffering from a moderate form of Sleep Apnea, then wearing an appliance when the patient sleeps could be a viable option.
Working with your Dentists
If you are considering trying a dental appliance, check that your dentist has previous experience in this area, and be prepared to work with the dentist to allow them to find the best solution.
You’ll also need to consider that the assessment period can be quite a lengthy process involving fittings, adaptations and examinations to check the device is right for you.
Sleep Apnea Options
When it comes to appliances, there are two main options that might be considered.
- Dental mouthpiece – this will help to hold the patients mouth in a different position as they sleep. These appliances work by freeing up the airway, allowing the patient to breathe easier. These can be custom made to make them perfect for the individual’s needs, and the performance of the appliance will be tested over a number of sessions to check it is comfortable for the patient to wear. These can also be brought online, however, patients need to be aware that in order for a mouthpiece to be effective, it must be custom made to suit their needs.
- Tongue Retainer – these are not used as often, but they are sometimes suggested by dentists as a solution to Sleep Apnea. This appliance works by positioning the patient’s tongue so it is not able to trap the airway. As with a dental mouthpiece, it might take several sessions and adjustments to make sure it is suitable for the patient.