Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops or slows down during sleep. Patients often wake up multiple times in the night, sometimes gasping for air. Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans. If left untreated, it can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, memory loss, obesity, and even death. With a mild to moderate cases, keep reading to learn about treating sleep apnea with an oral appliance.
Typically, doctors recommend a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). However, some patients find the CPAP uncomfortable and difficult to wear while sleeping. The oral appliance is worn in the mouth to prevent obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliances give patients an effective alternative to CPAP treatment.
How an Oral Appliance Works
Oral appliances treat mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Typically, dentists use mandibular appliances as an intervention for sleep apnea. These dental devices fit in the mouth like a mouthguard. The device works by shifting the jaw forward to create an open airway and reduce obstruction. By opening the airway, the device prevents snoring and other symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
Patients need a custom oral appliance created by an experienced dentist for effective treatment and an accurate fit. While ready-made options are available, these do not fit well and can fail to treat symptoms. Dentists create custom devices using dental impressions to design the perfect fit for each patient.
What Are the Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy?
Studies show effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea by wearing an oral appliance during sleep. Patients experience many benefits by using an oral device to treat sleep apnea.
- Cost-effective alternative to CPAP machines
- Comfortable to wear
- Compact for travel
- Quiet and do not require tubes or electrical cords
- Effective for mild to moderate cases
- Reduces snoring and other symptoms
An oral appliance empowers patients with options for treating obstructive sleep apnea. For mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea, many patients can treat their condition with an oral appliance without using a CPAP machine.
Can I Use an Oral Appliance While Using a CPAP Machine?
Yes! The CPAP and oral appliance work well together. Studies have shown that combining the two treatments provides additional benefits for severe sleep apnea. Also, an oral device works as a substitute for the CPAP machine when needed. For example, the patient may use the oral appliance during travel to avoid packing the bulky CPAP machine.
Where Do I Get an Oral Appliance to Treat Sleep Apnea?
Work with a dentist experienced with sleep apnea treatment. Dentists have the experience and knowledge to create properly fitting dental devices. Invest in a custom oral appliance for the best treatment solution. The right fit produces the best outcomes, including reducing sleep apnea symptoms.
A Comfortable Sleep Apnea Treatment
If the CPAP machine doesn’t work for you or you want an effective backup treatment, ask your doctor about an oral appliance. Many patients have found success with this comfortable and quiet treatment alternative.