Sleep apnea impacts between two and nine percent of adults in the U.S. Doctors often prescribe a CPAP machine for their sleep apnea treatment devices. The machine uses a mask covering the nose to push a constant air stream into the patient’s nasal passage and force their airway open.
However, many people impacted by sleep apnea choose not to use a CPAP machine because they find it uncomfortable or disruptive to sleep. Also, patients that travel frequently often don’t like the inconvenience of traveling with a bulky CPAP.
Thankfully, patients have an effective alternative. Dental sleep apnea oral devices offer patients a convenient and comfortable way to treat symptoms when a CPAP machine doesn’t work for them.
What Is A Dental Sleep Apnea Device?
Most sleep apnea devices are mandibular appliances that work by shifting the jaw forward. The shift opens the airway, which can relieve snoring and disruption in breathing. Custom-made oral appliances created by a dentist offer the most effective treatment.
Pros of Oral Sleep Apnea Devices
Many patients benefit from wearing oral devices to treat sleep apnea.
- Convenient – Oral devices do not require an electric outlet or any other extra equipment. The custom-made device transports easily for travel or camping.
- Effective Treatment – Studies have shown effective treatment for mild and moderate sleep apnea using dental appliances.
- Complements CPAP – Patients with severe sleep apnea find success using a dental device combined with the CPAP.
- Cost-Effective – The CPAP treatment costs more and requires replacement parts. While the CPAP offers effective treatment for severe sleep apnea, an oral device is a cost-effective alternative for mild and moderate cases.
- Comfortable – Most patients are more comfortable wearing an oral device than using the CPAP machine. Using an oral device as a backup to the CPAP offers a break for patients to enjoy a more comfortable night of sleep.
- Quiet – The CPAP machine creates noise which may also disrupt sleep. For nights when patients prefer quiet, an oral appliance offers treatment for sleep apnea without the noise.
Cons of Oral Sleep Apnea Devices
While the pros outweigh the cons, dental devices present a few negatives.
- Require A Custom Fit – Patients can purchase ready-made sleep apnea devices, but these do not work well or fit great. Custom devices made using dental impressions work best. While custom devices cost more, they produce better results and effectiveness.
- Less Effective for Severe Cases – Patients with severe sleep apnea achieve the best results using the CPAP machine. While dental devices may help as a complementary treatment for severe cases, they achieve the best results for mild and moderate sleep apnea. However, intervention with an oral appliance offers benefits when compared to no treatment.
- Adjustment Period – During initial use of the dental device, some patients experience jaw pain or soreness. The oral device shifts the jaw forward into a position that allows the airway to remain unobstructed. This shift can cause temporary discomfort, in the same way beginning a new workout routine causes soreness.
Dental Devices Offer Effective Sleep Apnea Treatment
A dental device offers a practical alternative if a CPAP machine doesn’t work for you. A dental appliance makes an excellent first treatment option for mild to moderate sleep apnea cases.
The bottom line is many patients prefer the convenience and comfort of a dental device. Sleep apnea can lead to severe health complications—seek a treatment option that works for you and your health!