Can A Snore Guard Help with Sleep Apnea?

Can A Snore Guard Help with Sleep Apnea?

Jul 05, 2022

After a good night’s sleep, you should feel energized and motivated to start your day. However, if you snore regularly or wake up feeling tired or fatigued, the chances are that you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common but serious sleep disorder in which breathing suddenly stops and repeatedly begins during sleep.

There are three types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It happens when the throat muscles relax too much, closing your airway and stopping your breathing. Fortunately, the breathing begins almost immediately.

Central sleep apnea is another type of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is rare and is when your brain fails to send correct signals to the breathing muscles. Lastly, we have complex sleep apnea syndrome. It occurs when someone has both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The signs of obstructive and central sleep apnea can sometimes overlap, making it difficult to diagnose which type you have. Common symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes where breathing stops during sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of daytime concentration
  • Awakening with a dry mouth

By stopping your breathing during sleep, sleep apnea leads to repeated episodes of low oxygen flow in the blood, changing carbon dioxide levels, and pressure changes within the chest (this can cause heart-related issues). Sleep apnea can lead to severe health complications like stroke, arrhythmias, hypertension, high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks, obesity, depression, and diabetes if left unaddressed.

To prevent these issues, experts recommend seeking treatment from your physician right away. While there are numerous treatments for sleep apnea, our Chestnut Hill dentist might recommend a mouthguard to manage mild to moderate snoring and sleep apnea.

How Snore Guards Help with Sleep Apnea

A snore guard is a dental device like a sports mouthguard worn in the mouth. The snore guard keeps your upper jaw forward, increasing the size of the upper airway. It reduces airway resistance that is to blame for snoring and sleep apnea. You’ll breathe better, ensuring a more relaxed, restful, and quality sleep throughout the night.

In most cases, your dentist will recommend using a snore guard in conjunction with other treatments like therapies, change of sleep posture, weight loss, and medications. If these treatments aren’t effective, your dentist might recommend alternative treatments like CPAP. CPAP is more effective and therefore recommended in stopping severe sleep apnea.

Generally, a snore guard only improves sleep apnea but may not entirely stop it. It’s also worth noting that a mouthguard won’t be effective for central sleep apnea. In most cases, central sleep apnea results from narcotic use, high altitude, and underlying medical condition like stroke and heart failure. Treatment for this sleep apnea might involve addressing the underlying issues, using supplemental oxygen, or using a breathing device.

Alternative Treatments for Sleep Apnea

  • Weight loss for overweight or obese individuals
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco products.
  • Avoid taking antidepressants and sleeping pills.
  • Sleeping on your side
  • Nasal sprays or breathing strips
  • Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy
  • Tongue retaining devices
  • Hypoglossal nerve stimulator
  • Surgeries like somnoplasty, tonsillectomy, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, mandibular surgery, and nasal surgery

Getting Custom Mouth Guards

When using a snore guard for snoring and mild sleep apnea, you must get a customized guard designed specifically for your mouth. Your dentist will take your teeth and mouth records and send them to a dental lab to create a custom guard. This process takes about two weeks.

A customized mouthguard fits perfectly and comfortably in your mouth without hurting your mouth or causing breathing difficulties. Besides keeping your airway open, a custom snore guard will prevent other issues like teeth grinding and clenching, ensuring that you get quality sleep. Contact our dentist for customized snore guards in Chestnut Hill.

Schedule An Appointment Today

For more information about snore guards and sleep apnea treatments, contact Hammond Pond Dental Group.

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