If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may be able to find relief in a surprising location: your Michigan dentist office. One of the most effective ways to treat sleep apnea is to use a special mouth piece at night that prevents your muscles from relaxing and closing off your airway. This can be fitted by a family dentist with experience treating sleep apnea patients. Let’s take a closer look at common sleep apnea treatments and the role your dentist plays in them.
Sleep Apnea Treatment From The Dentist
Here at Clinton Dental Center in Chesterfield, MI, we utilize oral appliance therapy to help patients get relief from their sleep apnea. We first set up a consultation with you to explain the benefits of oral appliance therapy and how the process works. From there, we will gather digital x-rays and molds of your teeth to create a custom oral appliance for your mouth.
The oral appliance is designed to be worn at night. It fits into your mouth similar to a plastic retainer or mouth guard and it is used to keep the jaw in a forward position. This keeps your airway open while you sleep and reduces the risk of snoring or blocking the airway through sleep apnea. The oral appliance is easy to care for, portable, comfortable, and customized specifically for your needs.
Most patients see an immediate improvement in their sleeping and snoring after getting an oral appliance. We may ask you to come back to our Michigan sleep apnea treatment center from time to time to make sure your oral appliance still fits properly. As long as you follow our aftercare instructions, you should be able to enjoy years of restful sleep with the help of oral appliance therapy.
At-Home Treatments For Sleep Apnea
In addition to oral appliance therapy, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the effects of sleep apnea and prevent your sleep apnea from getting worse over time. Those include:
- Stop Smoking – Smoking increases fluid retention in your throat that can worsen the effects of sleep apnea. It also puts more work on your respiratory system, which makes it harder for you to breathe at night.
- Lose Weight – Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors of sleep apnea because of the extra pressure the weight puts on the throat and the body as a whole. Simple diet and exercise changes can make a big difference in the difficulties you experience at night.
- Schedule Your Sleep – If possible, set a schedule for your sleeping that allows your body to get a consistent 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This should be around the same time every night in an ideal setup.
- Sleep On Your Side – some of our Michigan patients only experience sleep apnea when lying on their back. That position makes it easy for your tongue and muscles to drop back in your throat through gravity alone. Sleeping on your side could reduce your chances of having sleep apnea.
- Prop Yourself Up – If you cannot sleep comfortably on your side, you can try propping your head or upper body up with a pillow, body wedge, or similar device. The goal here is to keep your tongue from falling backwards while you sleep.
- Avoid Alcohol And Sedatives – Both of these have the ability to relax throat muscles, which could put you at risk of sleep apnea.
- Sing – This is not a joke. Singing can improve your throat muscle control, which will ultimately help your body tighten your throat muscles at night. Sing in the shower, in the car, or wherever else you feel like to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
For more information about sleep apnea treatments in Michigan, contact Clinton Dental Center at (586) 949-5363.