Sleep apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing for significant periods multiple times during the night. The result is that people end up not getting enough quality sleep. Many people don’t realize they have a problem at all. They suffer from fatigue during the day but never realize that they’re having trouble sleeping and keep waking up.
At North County Dental Group in Poway, CA, we get referrals from doctors who believe their patients will benefit from sleep apnea dental appliances. We have a team of experts who have fitted dozens of patients with similar appliances before.
These appliances are like mouthguards. Patients wear them when they sleep and take them off when they wake up. They need to be perfectly fitted over teeth to function properly or they’ll end up worsening the obstruction.
In sleep apnea, people’s airways get obstructed mostly due to the tongue and jaw falling backward. When we hold them in place using a dental appliance, we manage to keep the airway open throughout the night.
Sleep apnea dental appliances are effective in mild to moderate cases. They can also be used in combination with CPAP. People prefer them because they’re easier to get used to and are portable. You can just take your dental appliance with you in your bag wherever you go.
CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure, is considered the most effective treatment for sleep apnea. Unfortunately, it’s not well tolerated. CPAP relies on pushing air into the airway to keep it open. The problem with pushing this air is that it leads to dry mouth and sinuses. Ultimately, some people end up getting nosebleeds.
It’s harder to sleep with CPAP, which is a major cause of poor compliance. Sleeping with a mouth over the face is something many patients find hard to do and can’t tolerate. Using a dental appliance in combination with CPAP can allow us to lower the air pressure needed to lower side effects.
Treatment of sleep apnea depends on the severity and expert opinion. At North County Dental Group, we place great emphasis on early diagnosis and proper treatment.
Dr. Jackie Calcagno is our in-house pediatric dentist at North County Dental Group in Poway. She completed a residency in pediatric dentistry after graduating from dental school. Because of her experience and training, Dr. Jackie has a special touch with children, and understands how best to cater to their specific needs.