Sleep apnea treatment is required as soon as the disease is detected, as it can cause some serious complications if left unchecked. Nearly 18 million Americans are inflicted with the disorder, and that number is climbing quickly as obesity is a major risk factor for it. For mild or moderate cases, a dentist can effectively treat the problem without surgery.

There are three types of the disorder, and the version that dentists excel in treating is also the most prevalent kind. Obstructive apnea accounts for around 84 percent of cases and is caused when the smooth muscles in the throat responsible for keeping the airway open during sleep relax and shut off the flow of air. To prevent this, a dentist can fashion one of two devices for a patient.

The more popular of the two devices used for snoring treatment is a mandibular advancement device. This sleep apnea treatment tool looks like a mouth guard an athlete might wear, and it holds the jaw down and forward to keep the patient’s airway completely open. The other implement a dentist may shape for a patient is called a tongue retaining device. This tool acts like a splint for the tongue, and locks it into place, also keeping the flow of air from being obstructed by muscle relaxation.

Complications from using these implements are exceedingly rare, and are rather minor. Professionals believe that patients are more likely to comply with this method of care, and this encourages long term mitigation of the symptoms. People also report better quality of sleep, and dentists state that snoring should be reduced or eliminated if they are used properly and regularly.