Importance of Mouthguards in Treating Sleep Apnea

Importance of Mouthguards in Treating Sleep Apnea

Jun 01, 2020

Did you know that dentists do more than cater to your oral needs? Dentists can diagnose other health problems in your body. One major area includes sleep disorders. While you may think they are rare, some sleeping disorders are fairly common. A dentist in Kids First Dental can very well diagnose you with a sleep disorder, more specifically, sleep apnea. Have you heard of this term before? If not, read on to find out more about what it is, and the available treatments in Greenwood, SC.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

It is a disorder that causes temporary shortness of breath at night. The disorder is potentially dangerous and can be life-threatening if it progresses. The shortness of breath lasts for up to a minute or less. The longer the period, the more severe the condition. This is because it limits the amount of oxygen in your system, including your heart and brain.

The sleep disorder causes excessive snoring at night. However, snoring is only a symptom of the disease. The actual disorder features an obstruction of the airways, making it difficult for you to sleep at night. This disorder can lead to several other problems, more so those associated with the respiratory system. Some of the consequences of sleep apnea include the following:

  1. Sleepless night
  2. Shortage of breath
  3. Heart problems – starting with high palpitations
  4. Excessive sleeping during the day
  5. Fatigue
  6. Memory-related problems
  7. Mood swings
  8. Stroke

Treating Sleep Apnea

Different techniques are used to treat sleep apnea. The treatment options differ depending on the cause of your condition. Simple ways of treating sleep apnea include lifestyle changes like:

  1. Quitting smoking
  2. Physical exercise
  3. Losing weight
  4. Changing sleeping position, to mention a few.

More drastic measures are taken to treat severe cases of sleep apnea. While some patients go through surgery, usually, dental appliances are used to improve the breathing at night. This may avoid the need for surgical treatment, and even treat the sleep apnea. On most occasions, a sleep apnea mouthguard is a dental appliance used to treat the sleeping disorder.

What is A Mouthguard?

It is a dental appliance used to protect the teeth from damage triggered by external impact. In most cases, mouthguards are used to treat the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), and teeth grinding. However, that is not all they are useful in dentistry. Mouthguards can as well be used as snoring mouthpieces to help patients struggling with sleep apnea.

The types of mouthguards used for sleep apnea are unique from other types used in dentistry. Ideally, mouthguards are used for moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea. The devices are also known as night guards, given that they are worn at night when you sleep.

The function of these mouthpieces is to open up your airway as you sleep. This will improve your breathing drastically, by keeping your oral cavity open to allow breathability the devices are fitted upon customization by a dentist.

How Do Mouthguards Work?

The mouthpiece is placed over the upper and lower jaw. They usually have metal hinges supporting them. Which allows for the movement of the upper and lower jaw. More to it, the mouthguard pushes our tongue forward, as well as your lower jaw. This re-adjustment of your lower jaw allows you to breathe better because it keeps the airway open throughout the night.

However, the way to ensure that these mouthpieces are effective in treating your sleeping disorder is by talking to your dentist. Dental experts will take impressions of your mouth, to come up with a perfectly fitting prosthetic that can work on your mouth.

Is This Treatment Effective?

H effectiveness of mouthguards in treating sleep apnea is dependent on different factors. The factors include the following:

  1. How severe the sleep apnea is – the more complex your condition is, the more drastic measures are taken to treat you.
  2. They type of sleep apnea you have.
  3. The type of mouthguard you wear.


Even though sleep apnea is merely a sleeping disorder, it can be life-threatening. To protect your heart, brain, as well as the entire body, be sure to consult a sleep expert for the correct diagnosis on the type of sleep apnea you have, and how it can be treated.

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