A good night’s sleep is essential for good health. It makes you feel rested and ready to take on the day. Even still, many people don’t get the sleep they need. Sometimes this is related to sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) — their own, or those experienced by their sleeping partners. SRBD is characterized by recurrent episodes of reduced or interrupted respiratory airflow. This is caused by soft tissues near the back of the throat collapsing during sleep so that they partially close off the windpipe. These tissues like the tongue, for example — can vibrate as air passes by, causing snoring. Snoring is often worsened sleeping on one’s back because this encourages the lower jaw to slip back, which in turn pushes the tongue in front of the airway.
Snoring or sleep apnea can sometimes be treated with an oral appliance available at the dental office that’s designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This repositioning of the jaw moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction. This treatment is backed by a great deal of scientific evidence and it’s a good remedy to try before moving on to more complicated breathing devices or surgery to remove excess tissues in the throat.
Only a dentist can fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications associated with Oral Appliance Therapy used in managing SRBD. A consultation with a dental professional is a good idea.