Oral Appliances For Sleep Apnea: What You Need To Know

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders suffered by so many. Sleep apnea presents as loud snoring, but it is so much more. It can do a lot of damage to your health. Fortunately, there are some effective treatments available to help you deal with this condition. Here is what you need to know:

What Does Sleep Apnea Do to Your Body?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which the throat muscles collapse as you sleep. This blockage can close your airway and keeps oxygen from moving through your body. This causes you to gasp and awaken, even if you do not realize it. These constant gasps and periods of waking can happen very frequently. This prevents you from getting quality sleep and can also cause other health problems.

If your sleep apnea is not treated, you are exposed to serious risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, and depression.

Are There Treatment Options Available for Sleep Apnea?

There are several options to treat sleep apnea. CPAP therapy is among the most common treatments. This treatment consists of wearing a CPAP machine when you sleep. The machine will blow pressurized air through your airway to keep it from closing. A doctor will set the machine based on your breathing patterns that will ensure you get the right amount of air.

Oral appliances are another common treatment for sleep apnea. These are particularly helpful for those who have a mild form of sleep apnea. You wear an oral appliance in your mouth when you sleep. The oral appliance ensures your tongue does not block your throat.

What Should You Know About an Oral Appliance?

Two different oral appliances are available. The mandibular advancement device will open your airway by moving your lower jaw more forward. A tongue retaining device holds your tongue in a more forward position but does not move the jaw. A dentist will create the oral appliance to ensure it fits correctly in your mouth. As you wear the oral appliance, you will notice your sleep improves because your throat is not closing, leaving you gasping for air.

In some cases, you can wear the oral appliance while using a CPAP machine. You and your doctor can try different treatments to find the one that works best for you.

Many patients prefer the oral appliance treatment over CPAP because it is more convenient. You do not have to deal with a machine or wear a mask. The appliances are smaller and easy to take anywhere. You also do not have to deal with the side effects of a CPAP, such as nose irritation or a sore throat.

However, there are some side effects with oral appliances as well. You might notice your jaw is sore or stiff until you get used to wearing the appliance. You may also notice some excess saliva because the appliance can stimulate your salivary glands. Oral appliances may also damage dental work.