Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing at numerous points throughout the night. The person will wake up constantly, whether or not they remember it, to reposition and continue breathing.
However, this can happen up to hundreds of different times every night, therefore preventing sufferers of sleep apnea from getting the rest they need.
Conventional treatment for sleep apnea therapy consists of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which allows the patient to continue breathing properly throughout the night. However, CPAP machines are known for being bulky and uncomfortable, making it difficult for many patients to comply with this treatment and combat the effects of their sleep apnea.
There’s another way you can rest easy with sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy.
What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
An oral appliance is a device that’s worn during sleep by patients who suffer from sleep apnea such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It fits similarly to a mouthguard or a retainer, and therefore isn’t as large or awkward as a CPAP mask .
When you wear an oral appliance, it gently repositions the jaw in a forward position which effectively keeps your airway open during sleep. In OSA, the airway will actually collapse which prevents breathing, so oral appliance therapy can help prevent these episodes from happening night after night and reduce your symptoms of sleep apnea.
Benefits of Using Oral Appliance Therapy
Many sleep apnea patients prefer oral appliance therapy because it’s comfortable and makes it easier for them to sleep. In addition, an oral appliance can make it simple for patients to comply with the treatment for long-term care, which offers an advantage over a CPAP machine.
Oral appliance therapy has been shown to just as effective as CPAP treatment, making these small devices a more effective way for patients with sleep apnea to get a full night’s rest .
Another benefit of using an oral appliance for OSA is that it’s much easier to travel with due to its size, again increasing patient compliance with treatment. These devices are custom-fitted for your mouth to be discreet and comfortable.
Oral appliance therapy is ideal for patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. While OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea, there are other types, including central sleep apnea and a combination of obstructive and mixed.
A sleep specialist can help you determine if you have sleep apnea and which type to recommend a course of treatment that will be the most effective for you.
There is some evidence that oral appliances may be most effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea, however, more research is needed to conclude this . Your dentist and your sleep doctor can let you know if oral appliance therapy would benefit you!
Ask Your Dentist About Oral Appliance Therapy
If you suffer from OSA and haven’t been satisfied with your CPAP treatment, ask your doctor about oral appliance therapy. This modern form of treatment could help you reduce your sleep apnea symptoms and improve your sleep!