by Anu Shree
Sleep Apnea is a chronic sleep condition and it happens when the airways become either entirely or partially blocked as you sleep. If the throat muscles relax to a point where they collapse and prevent the supply of air, this condition can crop up. However, the brain wakes you up for resuming the breathing.
At times you will be forced to wake up and at other times you won’t be able to remain fully conscious. This not just interrupts your sleep but also makes you more prone to other health hazards that sleep deprivation can lead to.
The oral appliance can be the savior for the people who have sleep apnea. The devices happen to be quite comfortable as compared to wearing the mask. The best part is that they don’t even need surgery.
What is Oral Dental Appliance for Sleep Apnea?
Prior to delving deeper with the oral appliance, let us understand what sleep apnea is and how it affects your health and sleep.
The sleep apnea oral appliance or mouthpiece is a customized splint that is worn in your mouth as you sleep. A variety of oral appliances are now used for treating mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. These devices resemble sports mouth guards or oral devices.
The motive of the oral appliance is to keep your airways open by sliding the lower jaw frontward to some extent just enough to make room at the rear portion of the throat for the tongue. Any excess soft tissue is also accommodated there in the upper throat.
The dentists specially trained for practicing dental sleep medicine are capable of creating customized sleep apnea dental devices and you will be recommended a suitable dental device for treating sleep apnea by your dentist.
How does an Oral Mouthpieces Work?
When you wear the oral mouthpieces for sleep apnea, the jaw is moved forward. These devices prevent sleep apnea by reducing the resistance of the upper airway by enhancing the size of the airway.
Sleep doctors usually suggest the use of sleep apnea mouthpieces prior to going for the more invasive and challenging CPAP or surgery treatment. Sometimes, patients are also advised to lose weight as obesity can further deteriorate your sleep apnea condition.
The mouthguards that are used for controlling the sleep apnea condition are also considered as anti-snoring tools as they prevent snoring by decreasing the airway turbulence. The disturbance is what makes the snoring noise.
The individuals who are diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea can massively benefit from the tailor-made appliances which are also known as the “sleep apnea mouthguards”. The turbulence is what gives rise to snoring.
The doctors can also suggest you go for a sleep study in order to come up with an accurate diagnosis of your condition.
Now let’s assess the advantages of using oral appliance therapy. Just take a look:
- Comfort Irrespective of Sleep Position –These mouthpieces provide maximum comfort because your apnea mouthpiece is customized for fitting the jaw and your mouth. It does not interfere with your facial hair, sleep position, or skin the way the CPAP masks can.
- No Dry Nasal Passages – The dry nasal passages, congestion, and sore noses are quite common among people who use CPAP machines. But the oral devices don’t supply forced air through the nose or throats. Therefore, they don’t represent similar issues.
- Reduced Stigma – The oral apnea appliances are subtler than the CPAP machines. If you are losing sleep because of the disturbing mask or keeping a medical device on the bed, you can get a mouth splint to your liking.
- Ease of Use – The oral appliances for OSA are simple. They are portable, simple and small. You don’t need to use a battery or need to plug them in. The upkeep and care of the appliances are easy. You don’t need to replace filters or clean out the tubing.
- Least Interference with Allergies and Colds – Wearing an oral appliance has no effect on a stuffed-up nose during the allergy and the cold season. The CPAP calls for clear nasal airway in order to get the desirable results.
- No Added Sound Production – This may keep the light sleepers awake which can be your bed partner or yourself. A CPAP, again, blows the air continuously all through the night. Though it is not loud, it does emit a sound.
From the above discourse, this goes without saying that these devices are really effective and can assist in controlling your sleep apnea to grab a good night’s sleep.
Apart from the above, the dental appliances for sleep apnea are also quite affordable. However, with the usage of sleep appliances, you can also face some issues like sore jaw and teeth, dry mouth or excessive salivation or loosening of dental restorations.
In order to know whether you will be facing such issues, you should only start using this device after consulting with your sleep dentist for treating sleep apnea. After all, they are very effective, non-invasive and affordable and many have benefitted from them when battling sleep apnea which can otherwise wreak havoc on your oral health.