The idea of sleeping with a large piece of plastic in your mouth might not sound very comfortable. But if your dentist has recommended that you sleep with a mouthguard to provide you with a better night’s rest, you should definitely give it a chance.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is incredibly common and one of the top reasons that a mouthguard could be prescribed. The disorder results in one or more pauses in your breathing while you sleep. This interruption in your breathing pattern causes you to spend less time in restful deep sleep and more time in a light sleep, which can lead to extreme tiredness during the day, even after what you believed to have been a full night’s rest.
There are two types of sleep apnea. The first, obstructive sleep apnea, is caused when the airway temporarily collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This causes loud snoring and very little time spent in deep sleep. Central sleep apnea is less common and occurs when the part of your brain responsible for your breathing sends incorrect signals to your breathing muscles. In this type, snoring is not typical.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and choose not to treat it, you might be increasing your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity and diabetes. Luckily, a mouthguard is a successful treatment for some levels of sleep apnea.
How does a mouthguard work?
A custom mouthguard made by your dentist will help with your sleep apnea by moving your jaw forward. This increases the size of your upper airway and reduces any air resistance.
In some cases, you might need to participate in a sleep study to see if a mouthguard will work for you. It typically works best for those with mild cases of sleep apnea. In some cases, lifestyle changes might help with your level of success, like weight loss. There is no single set of instructions for treatment with a mouthguard. Every patient’s requirements are a bit different, which is why it is best to receive treatment from your dentist instead of purchasing an over the counter mouthpiece. A custom made mouthguard from a dentist will always fit better than an over the counter product, too.
How do I get used to it?
For most people, getting used to how a mouthguard feels in their mouth is difficult. While most people start out with enthusiasm regarding their treatment, the mouthguard is sometimes abandoned after a few nights.
In an effort to get used to your mouthguard quickly, ask your dentist to give you one made from the thinnest material possible. You may need to eventually built up to a thicker material but starting small can help you begin to adjust. You can also talk to your dentist about whether an upper or lower mouthguard would be best. Also, wait until you’re in bed before placing the mouthguard. This will give you less time to focus on how it feels.
Above all, commit to using a mouthguard. Don’t give up after a night or two. It will take some getting used to, but for most people, a few weeks of consistent use is enough to develop a habit. After enough time has passed, you may find it difficult to sleep without your mouthguard.
If you think that you could benefit from sleeping with a mouthguard, get in contact with Quay Dental today. We are proud to provide mouthguards to patients and help them get a perfect night’s sleep.