Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that leads to a person's breathing being interrupted while they sleep. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to health issues like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and it increases the risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages from toddlers…
Comparing Dental Oral Appliance Treatments for Sleep Apnea
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a variety of treatment options. While the use of continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) machines remains the standard treatment, oral appliances have been proven to be just as effective when treating mild to moderate OSA.
Treating sleep apnea with oral appliances
Treating OSA with oral appliances involves the patient wearing the appliance during sleep. These appliances are customized for each patient, and they help keep the wearer’s airway open. This might be done by pushing the patient’s jaw forward or holding their tongue forward so it does not collapse into the airway.
There are three main types of oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea. These include:
- Tongue-retaining devices: These devices are attached to the wearer’s tongue and prevent it from restricting airflow; they are the least popular types of appliances used to address sleep apnea
- Mandibular advancement devices: These are the most commonly used oral appliances for sleep apnea and look like athletic mouthguards; these devices help push the wearer’s jaw forward, which prevents the soft tissues in the throat and mouth from blocking the flow of air into their lungs
- Hybrid devices: These oral appliances help keep the patient’s jaw and tongue in their proper positions during sleep, keeping the patient’s airway open
Figuring out the right oral appliance for you
The type of oral appliance that is recommended for each patient often comes down to what their doctor and dentist agree on. A doctor might make a recommendation that an oral appliance can be beneficial, and the dentist can evaluate the patient and determine what type of oral appliance would work best for them.
The dentist will take an impression of the patient’s mouth by having them bite down on a mold. The impression is sent to dental technicians who make custom oral appliances. The process takes about two weeks on average. Once the appliance is ready, the dentist will educate the patient on how to use and maintain the device. The patient can get relief from their sleep apnea from the first time that they wear their appliance when going to bed.
Get the relief that you need
Sleep apnea prevents you from getting quality sleep, and it increases your risk of developing chronic issues like heart disease. Ignoring sleep apnea can have a significant impact on your life as your body struggles with the stress placed on it due to consistently not getting quality sleep. This can impact your personal and professional relationships. People with sleep apnea often find themselves dealing with symptoms like fatigue, memory issues, difficulty concentrating, and a weakened immune system.
Ready to put sleep apnea behind you? Give us a call or stop by our Baltimore clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist. With the right oral appliance, you can get back to getting meaningful sleep every night.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea in Baltimore, MD.
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