Mouthguards/Sleep Apnea

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Mouthguards

A mouthguard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, arches, lips and gums. Mouthguards are most often used to prevent injury in contact sports, as a treatment for bruxism or TMD, or as part of certain dental procedures, such as tooth bleaching.

Mouthguard Uses

Sports: Mouthguards are used in sports where deliberate or accidental impacts to the face and jaw may cause harm. Mouthguards may also prevent or reduce harm levels of concussion in the event of an injury to the jaw. Many sports, schools or local state health laws make the use of protective mouthguards compulsory for participants.
Medical: Mouthguards may be used as splints to treat temporomandibular joint disorder and bruxism (teeth grinding).

Types of Mouthguards:

Stock or ready made: Manufactured in a pre-formed shape in various sizes but with nearly no adjustment to fit the user’s mouth. The only adjustment possible is minor trimming with a knife or scissors.

Mouth adapted or “boil and bite”: A thermo-plastic material manufactured in a pre-formed shape in various sizes that can be adapted to fit more closely to an individual’s teeth and gums by heating and molding such as boiling then placing in the mouth.These mouth guards are usually made of Ethylene-vinyl acetate.

Custom made: An impression of the users teeth is used by specialist manufacturers to create a best-fit mouth protector.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is caused when one stops breathing for a time at night. There are a variety of reasons it happens, some weight-related and also from the size of the tongue and jaw alignment. People who often sleep on their backs can be prone to it, though those who slumber in other positions can have it too. It needs to be tended to before causing long-term damage.

Dentists are among the first to diagnose sleep apnea – aside from constant nudges from significant others. There are things they look for that can signal this potentially deadly condition – it can increase blood pressure and make people drowsy during the day, which is dangerous for those who are on the road for a living.

Symptoms

Sleep apnea is caused when one stops breathing for a time at night. There are a variety of reasons it happens, some weight-related and also from the size of the tongue and jaw alignment. People who often sleep on their backs can be prone to it, though those who slumber in other positions can have it too. It needs to be tended to before causing long-term damage.

Actual Diagnosis

The dentist can see these symptoms, but a medical doctor has to perform the actual diagnosis. So the dentist may refer the patient to a sleep laboratory for monitoring a full night’s sleep. Once the sleep apnea has been formally diagnosed, the dentist can proceed in terms of fixing the issue.

Dental Treatment

Oftentimes people with sleep apnea use a device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) where they wear a mask overnight and air is pushed through. There are some who may find it claustrophobic and refuse to consistently wear it.

There is another option available. It’s called oral appliance therapy. A dentist who is trained in dental sleep therapy can make a custom-fit mouthguard that will keep the patient’s jaw in a forward position while they sleep, preventing their airway from becoming blocked by a relaxed back of the throat.

Mouthguards
Mouthguards
Mouthguards
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