Maybe you know you suffer from sleep apnea, or maybe you’re just beginning to suspect that your nightly snoring is a bigger problem than you used to think it was. Maybe you’ve heard of sleep apnea but you are not actually sure what it is.
If you are a regular snorer, you will want to make sure your snoring is not an indication of the larger problem of sleep apnea because sleep apnea can cause a lot of damage to your body over time.
Whether you know sleep apnea is a condition that you have or whether you are still wondering, you may be feeling overwhelmed at the thought of figuring out more, especially because sleep apnea usually conjures up thoughts of loud or scary breathing machines and a lot of expense.
So, What Is Sleep Apnea Then?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing or to start taking shallow breaths during sleep. It is a serious condition because it can cause fatigue (the result of interrupted sleep), as well as depression and heart issues (the result of your body is being deprived of oxygen for periods of time during the night).
Fortunately, if you have sleep apnea, you’re not alone! Sleep apnea is very common. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, about 18 million people suffer from sleep apnea in the Unites States of America. So, if you are figuring out how to deal with your sleep apnea, you will find a lot of resources and studies to reference.
And, if you don’t yet know whether you have sleep apnea, you will want to talk to your doctor. Your doctor may then refer you to a sleep disorder center where you can speak with a specialist who might have you go in for observation overnight.
A CPAP as Treatment for Your Sleep Apnea
The most common way to treat sleep apnea is by using a CPAP machine. A CPAP machine pumps air into your throat to keep your airway open. You will wear a mask (this could be a mouth mask, a nose and mouth mask, a full face mask, or a nasal mask). All of these can be bulky and a lot to get used to. Even worse, a CPAP machine makes noise throughout the night and takes up a great deal of space. The sound and air produced by it can irritate not only the wearer but also those who share a bed with the CPAP user.
Other Ways to Treat Sleep Apnea
So, the good news is that there are a number of other ways to help address sleep apnea, including weight loss, exercise, and the use of certain sleeping positions. Additionally, new research indicates that a night guard may be just as effective at treating mild cases of sleep apnea as a CPAP machine.
A Night Guard for Sleep Apnea
Oftentimes, sleep apnea occurs when the jaw settles backwards in the mouth during sleep and causes the back of the tongue to block the airway. This cause of sleep apnea can be treated by wearing a night guard that will keep your teeth in line, help your jaw remain forward during the night, and keep your airway open.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine now both recognize night guards as a way to treat sleep apnea.
What Is a Night Guard?
A night guard is a device worn during throughout the night that keeps your upper and lower teeth from touching or grinding against each other. Night guards are popular devices for people who regularly grind their teeth, people who have TMJ, and people who experience headaches, neck pain, or jaw and/or tooth pain due to tension in the jaw.
Night guards come in a variety of styles and materials, and they can resemble orthodontic retainers or the mouth guards worn by athletes. Not all night guards are the same, and not all night guards are designed specifically to treat sleep apnea.
How To Get a Night Guard
Some generic versions of night guards are available for purchase at many drug stores. These are built to fit the average mouth, rather than your specific mouth, and these night guards are not usually designed to counteract sleep apnea. Additionally, store bought night guards can be especially uncomfortable to wear because they are not designed around the height or length of your teeth and gums. While these night guards are very affordable, they are usually not worth the annoyance of wearing them.
Better night guards are custom-built to fit your mouth. These guards are built based on molds of your teeth that you can have made at your dentist’s office. Because most people go to the dentist to get these night guards made, these custom-made versions can be quite expensive.
An Affordable Option
Over 15 years ago, Sparkling White Smiles Dental Lab noticed that there was a missing niche in the market: an affordable night guard that was also well made and custom designed to fit your mouth. So, we came on the scene with our variety of night guards, which are designed around a mold of your teeth and handmade at our lab right here in the USA.
You’ll take the mold of your mouth yourself, following our easy-to-understand instructions and using the kit you receive when you submit an order with us. Then, you’ll mail your molds back and we’ll send you a night guard made to fit you perfectly for a fraction of the price it would cost you to go through a dentist. In fact, you are going directly to a lab that dentists also use when ordering night guards. So, essentially, you are just cutting out the middleman or woman!
Note: if you are seeking a night guard specifically for sleep apnea, you will want to make sure you order a guard that has been designed for this purpose since not all night guards will be effective at treating sleep apnea.
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