Sleep apnea or loud snoring can be treated with individual splints that are worn at night. The splints make the pharynx tissue and muscles tighten so that the airways stay open, the tongue stays in front and the soft pharynx tissue vibration decreases. This way the patients breathing pausements and snoring decreases.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common disorder and it is generally recognisable from tiredness during the day despite getting adequate sleep during the night. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a polysomnography. The criterion for the diagnosis is at least a 10 second stopping in breathing, which happens with a patient suffering from sleep apnea 5-15 times in an hour with mild apea, 16-30 times with moderate apnea and over 30 times with severe apnea.
Sleep apnea is divided into three categories:
- Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the narrowness of the upper respiratory tract. Respiratory movements continue while being asleep and despite the breathing stopping, but the airway is blocked. The tongue generally presses into the throat blocking the airway.
- In central sleep apnea, the regulation of breathing is unbalanced so no respiratory movements happen during the stopping of breathing.
- The third category is mixed sleep apnea which is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Sleep apnea is treated according to current information in three different ways: with a CPAP machine which provides extra oxygen, with mandibular advancement splints and with orthognathic surgery. As a first treatment option for mild or moderate sleep apnea, specific dental splints can be recommended to continuously hold the airways open in a safe manner.
As a first treatment option for mild or moderate sleep apnea, specific dental splints can be recommended to continuously hold the airways open in a safe manner. We prepare Somnomed sleep apnea mouthguards which are personalised and prepared according to the shape of the teeth, and they consist of guards for both upper and lower jaw. Due to the patent fin shaping, the lower jaw is carefully held in a front position which is preferable for successful treatment. The muscles in the tongue attach onto the tip of the lower jaw. By moving the lower jaw more to the front with the help of the mouthguard, the tissue in the throat and the muscles are successfully tightened. The tongue stays in the front and the airways stay open better during sleeping. This tightening also prevents the soft tissues of the upper throat area from vibrating from the effect of breathing – which is often the cause for loud snoring, so the mandibular advancement splint can also be used to prevent disruptive snoring.
Could apnea splints help you to sleep better?
If you suspect sleep apnea, be first in touch with your own doctor.
If you are already diagnosed with mild or moderate apnea or you suffer of loud snoring, contact us!