Sleep apnea is a serious, sometimes fatal medical disorder that affects around 10% of American men over the age of 40, and 6% of American women of the same age. Sleep apnea sufferers completely stop breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Normal breathing ceases because the airway becomes obstructed, causing a serious reduction of airflow to major organs - including the brain.
There are a number of dental devices that can be used to alleviate this condition. The goal of most of these devices is to separate the jaws and push/hold the lower jaw forward slightly. This slight repositioning opens up the airway, and allows oxygen to flow freely again. Wearers of sleep apnea dental devices report that they stop loud snoring, feel more rested in the daytime, and are much more comfortable going to sleep. Sleep apnea appliances work best on patients who are not significantly overweight. They offer a viable alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
There are MANY types of sleep apnea appliances. The best type will be determined by the dentist.
If you have questions or concerns about sleep apnea appliances, please ask your dentist.