Dental appliances offer a treatment alternative
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that requires a guided treatment method, which can include the use of a CPAP breathing machine. However, if you can’t sleep with CPAP machines or struggle to get them to work properly, your dentist might suggest treating your sleep apnea with a dental appliance.
The following is a look at this process, known as oral appliance therapy.
What is oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy focuses on using a mouth guard or other oral appliances to support your jaw. This approach helps keep the soft tissues in your throat and your tongue from collapsing and causing sleep apnea symptoms, such as excessive snoring or interrupted breathing.
When is it used?
Oral appliance therapy is useful when you have a relatively mild case of sleep apnea. If you stop breathing five or more times during the night, oral appliance therapy may not work for you. However, it can also be used with CPAP to help increase air flow or make it easier to accept the machine tube.
Is it effective?
A study in 2014 found that, in appropriate patients, oral appliance therapy was just as effective as a CPAP machine. Another study found equivalent effectiveness in 87 percent of the studied patients. This research suggests that oral appliance therapy can serve as an appropriate replacement therapy in people who simply don’t like using CPAP machines.
Are there downsides?
One potential downside is monitoring difficulty. Simply put, it’s harder to gauge the effectiveness of the treatment without regular checkups with a sleep doctor. CPAP machines comes with gauges that make your progress easier to monitor. Talk to your doctor and your dentist about the best treatment for you.
Oral appliance therapy is a useful and legitimate treatment alternative for people with sleep apnea. To learn more about this process and how it can help you, please contact us today.