Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that can leave you feeling fatigued during the day. It can also cause cognitive impairment in the form of forgetfulness, irritability or trouble concentrating. It occurs when your airway is obstructed during sleep. The muscles in the back of your throat relax to the point that normal breathing halts until a signal is sent to the brain to wake you and start breathing again. Treatment for OSA depends on the severity of the issue. Some individuals may consider getting a night guard, also called a mouth guard, to solve the problem.
Advantages of Night Guards
Intense snoring can jolt you awake at night and keep your bed partner from getting a good night’s rest, too. A night guard can stop the snoring and provide you and your partner with better sleep.
This oral appliance fits into your mouth, covering your teeth. It positions your jaw so the airway does not collapse when the muscles relax during sleep. If you grind or clench your teeth while sleeping, as is the case with many people who have OSA, the night guard prevents you from doing so.
The night guard also reduces the number of times your breathing is paused; therefore, it can significantly improve your blood oxygen levels. Since you sleep better, you feel better during the day with less daytime sleepiness. Over time, you may find that your blood pressure is better and your quality of life has improved because your quality of sleep has improved.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that night guards be used for people who snore but do not have OSA, people who have mild to moderate OSA and those who do not respond well to CPAP therapy or who do not want to use CPAP therapy.
Custom Made Night Guards
You can purchase over-the-counter night guards, but there are risks involved. Some of them include:
- Discomfort and jaw pain
- Gum irritation
- Dry mouth
- Excessive salivation
- Tooth movement
When you are under the care of a dentist, any issues you may encounter with your night guard can be addressed. It is worth noting that an ill-fitting mouth guard could potentially make your sleep apnea worse.
A custom made mouth guard is designed to fit your mouth exclusively. It is created to keep your jaw in the correct position so your airway is unobstructed. There are a variety of treatments using oral devices. At Atlanta Sleep Apnea Treatment Center, we will determine the best night guard for your condition so you can sleep well and wake refreshed. Call today to schedule your consultation.
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