Sleep apnea is characterized by frequent lapses in breathing during the night. There has been an increase in the prevalence of this condition among Americans in recent years. Most people suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA), which is caused by a partial blockage of their airways. The good news is that oral appliances can be used to treat this condition. Read on to find out whether dental sleep apnea treatment might be beneficial for you or a loved one suffering from sleep apnea.
MADs (Mandibular Advancement Devices)
Mandibular advancement devices, or MADs, are similar to the mouth guards worn by athletes. The reason for this is that they will fit over a person’s upper and lower teeth while they sleep. The MAD treatment involves gently adjusting the lower jaw and tongue forward so as to prevent the person’s throat muscles from collapsing and obstructing their airways.
Mouthpieces for retaining the tongue
The design of tongue-retaining mouthpieces is similar to that of mandibular advancement devices. Tongue-retention mouthpieces, however, have a small compartment that holds the tongue and uses suction to hold it forward. For patients who cannot shift their jaw sufficiently for a mandibular advancement device, tongue retaining mouthpieces are often recommended.
The Pros and Cons of Oral Appliances
Although using an oral appliance seems more convenient than using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine for your sleep apnea, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.
- Patients using CPAP machines often complain of having an itchy nose when they wake up. This issue is unlikely with an oral appliance since they usually do not affect the nose.
- Wearing an oral appliance is simpler than using a CPAP machine, which requires cords and wires throughout the night.
- The compact design of oral appliances makes them easy to transport.
- It is not uncommon for patients to complain of jaw soreness, pain, or stiffness.
- Oral appliances may also cause gum and tooth pain because of the way they shift the jaw.
- It has been reported that some patients have experienced dry mouth or increased saliva production.
- It is possible to permanently alter the position of a person’s jaw.
- You may experience loosening and instability of a crown or bridge over time.
Schedule an appointment with our sleep apnea office today if you are interested in dental sleep apnea treatment. We can assist you in determining which type of oral appliance is most appropriate for you. Let us help you choose the right option for you.