Oral Dental Appliances Increasing in Popularity Among Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sufferers

Oral Dental AppliancesContinuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) is the recommended treatment for individuals that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea; however, many find this treatment technique uncomfortable.

CPAP is known to detrimentally impact those that suffer from claustrophobia and anxiety, increase dryness within the passages of the nasal cavity, irritate the skin, and make the process of sleeping rather uncomfortable.

As a result, many sleep apnea patients are seeking alternative treatments. To date, the most popular of these alternative treatments are oral dental appliances.

Continue reading to learn about these appliances and to determine if they are suitable for your needs.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea – The Basics

Before providing an overview of oral dental appliances for obstructive sleep apnea, we feel it is first important to provide an overview of the condition itself.

Generally speaking, this is a sleep disorder that results in the cessation of breathing throughout the sleep cycle as a result of a direct obstruction that is in the way of the airway.

When the breathing stops, it only stops for seconds; however, when breathing is resumed, the sufferer may snort, gasp for air, or choke in an effort to continue breathing.

The Relaxation of the Muscles and Soft Tissue

During the sleep cycle, the muscles and the soft tissues in the body undergo a period of relaxation. This occurs so that the process of repair may happen. The mouth and the throat have muscles and soft tissues that also relax during sleep. In some instances, they may relax so much that they fall into the upper airway.

When this happens, the oxygen that is flowing through that airway is blocked. Breathing then stops and signals are sent to the brain for the respiratory system to work much harder so that the body can sustain life while exposed to the obstruction.

The Detrimental Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea may result in many detrimental effects to the health. These include – but, are not at all limited to – the following:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Arrhythmias of the Heart
  • The Development of Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • The Development of Stroke
  • Higher Risk for the Onset of Diabetes
  • Death

Sleep apnea also results in excessive sleepiness during the daytime hours. This could result in poor performance during the day, cognitive complications, an increased risk for accidents, and depression. The pauses in breathing identify the severity of the obstructive sleep apnea.

Those that experience up to 14 episodes in an hour are considered to have “mild” sleep apnea. Those that have 15-30 episodes are identified as “moderate”. Finally, if a person has more than 30 episodes within an hour, they are determined to have a “severe” case of obstructive sleep apnea.

Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Individuals that are found to have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea often benefit from the use of oral dental appliances in place of CPAP devices. Then, there are many that must continue wearing the CPAP, but will benefit from the integration of oral dental appliances to assist in lowering the amount of pressure that is required to sustain breathing activities.

To date, there are two main types of dental appliances that will aid in helping sleep apnea patients. They are classified as “Mandibular Advancement Devices” or “MADs”, and “Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces”. Below, you will find a brief explanation of each:

  1. Mandibular Advancement DevicesThis look like retainers or the mouthguards utilized in sporting activities. These help by pushing the lower area of the jaw forward and encouraging the tongue to go forward. This aids in ensuring that muscles and tissues do not fall back into the airways and obstruct the breathing.
  2. Tongue Retaining MouthpiecesThis oral dental device for obstructive sleep apnea uses suction to pull the tongue to the forward region of the mouth. This helps to prevent the tongue from collapsing back into the airway.

The Advantages

There are many distinct advantages to using oral dental devices as a patient that suffers from obstructive sleep apnea. These include the following:

  1. The oral dental devices are significantly more comfortable than that of the traditional CPAP machines.
  2. Oral dental devices are now known to cause dry nasal cavities, itchiness, or other uncomfortable skin problems.
  3. Oral dental devices are easy to use and do not have a lot of equipment. As a result, traveling is much easier.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you should talk to your dental practitioner about obtaining oral dental devices as a means of coping with the sleep disorder. Not only will you find that these products are more comfortable, but they cost significantly less than other types of treatments for sleep apnea.

To learn more, simply contact us today by visiting the following link: https://americandentaloflagrange.com/contact-us/

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