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School of Medicine
Sleep Apnea and Dental Treatments
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when breathing during sleep stops for at least 10 seconds because of upper airway obstruction. Sleep apnea may be caused by:
- Large tonsils
- Large tongue
- Excess tissue in the upper airway
- Blocked nasal passages
- Structure of the jaw and airway
Sleep apnea can make other conditions worse, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, stroke, acid reflux and insomnia. Treatment for sleep apnea can improve both symptoms and associated medical conditions.
Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment
Our dentists are trained in the latest procedures for treating sleep-related disorders. After you see a sleep disorder specialist or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) for a sleep study and referral, your sleep doctor may recommend different sleep apnea treatments.
The gold standard for sleep apnea treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a mask that blows a stream of air into your throat while you sleep. This prevents apneas, or interrupted periods of breathing from occurring. However, not everyone can tolerate CPAP, so your sleep specialists may refer you to one of our dentists if you find CPAP does not work for you.
Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard
One of our dentists will make a special type of upper and lower mouth guard to help reposition your lower jaw at night. This provides a larger airway and alleviates breathing problems during sleep.
Modified mouth guards that are custom made for each patient are usually very successful at treating sleep apnea. Our dentists will want to see you one month after you start using your mouth guard to adjust it for fit and comfort. You will have adjustments at three months and then again at six months.
Learn more about our customized mouth guards and bite splints.
To make an appointment, call us at 443-997-6467.