What is a Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance?

What Is a Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance, and How Does It Work?

While a CPAP device is the primary means of treating sleep apnea, some patients do not use the device every night like they should. They feel that the device is uncomfortable. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to cardiovascular and other health problems if not treated. For minor to moderate cases of the disease, an oral appliance may be a more comfortable option. What is a sleep apnea dental appliance, and how does it work? Read on to learn more.

What Is a Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance?

If a person suffers from snoring or a mild form of sleep apnea, they may be able to get relief with an oral appliance. Please note that those who suffer from severe OSA will need to use a CPAP device or perhaps even have surgery. There are various types of oral appliances to help with a less serious form of this condition. They need to be fitted properly by a dentist or another qualified medical professional.

How Do Oral Devices Work?

Most devices relieve the sleep apnea by adjusting the way a person’s mandible is positioned. By keeping the lower jaw stable, the device keeps the mouth from opening during sleep and encourages the tongue to stay in position. Some may also be specifically designed to keep the tongue in place so that it can not fall back and cause a stoppage in breathing. The devices generally have a retainer-like appearance. Most people, however, say that an oral appliance is more comfortable to wear to sleep than a CPAP machine.

Do I Really Need to Treat My Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Most definitely! Numerous studies have linked OSA to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This is the number one killer in America, making it a good idea to treat any risk factors that you can. Also, OSA can lead to a feeling of drowsiness throughout the day. It can lead to dangers while driving and operating heavy machinery. Plus, it is tough on productivity and can affect job performance. Do not forget that your condition does not only affect you. Your partner is also likely having trouble sleeping thanks to your snoring and breathing stoppages. Many partners are forced to sleep in another room to get a good night’s rest, which can put a strain on any relationship.

As you can see, sleep apnea dental appliances are a very important tool for treating a condition that could become life threatening if not taken care of, and as such you should discuss treatment options with your sleep apnea dentist during your next appointment.