If you suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you may be a candidate for wearing an oral appliance to help you breathe better as you sleep. Known as oral appliance therapy, a mandibular advancement device or splint can help you with snoring and apnea issues. With over 80 different kinds of oral appliances available today, you can find one that works for you!
A Jaw Advancing Device (JAD) – or Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) – is made using a type of plastic mold that is uniquely tailored to fit over a patient’s teeth to wear while sleeping. Most of these appliances push the lower jaw forward to open up the upper airways, while the Tongue Retaining Mouthpiece keeps the tongue from falling back too far for better breathing and reduced snoring.
People with obstructive sleep apnea stop breathing during the night because of airway obstructions. It can leave you gasping and feeling like you’re choking as your body tries to breathe again. If your throat muscles relax too much and fall back into the upper airway while you sleep, healthy oxygen flow can’t get in. As the brain responds to your breathing pauses, it wakes up to signal the respiratory system to start breathing again.
With mild obstructive sleep apnea, your apnea events (pauses in your breathing) range from 5-14 episodes in an hour. With moderate OSA, your interrupted sleep episodes range from 15-30 events per hour. An oral appliance is often chosen when a patient can’t handle wearing a CPAP mask, and they work well with accompanying weight loss. To learn which sleep solution works best for you, a sleep study can determine the level of your sleep apnea and the accompanying options.
Untreated sleep apnea, with its poor sleep levels, affects your health in many ways. Along with excessive daytime sleepiness and perpetual exhaustion, it can raise your blood pressure, cause heart arrhythmias (as well as heart disease and raise the risk of a heart attack), and raise your risk of stroke and diabetes. It can also leave you with mood swings, mental fog, anxiety, and depression. It also increases your likelihood of having an accident while driving or operating machinery.
Why Choose an Oral Appliance for Your Sleep Apnea?
– Unlike a CPAP mask and equipment that can be hard to acclimate to, patients often feel more comfortable wearing a mouth guard, so they consistently wear their appliance while they sleep.
– CPAPs can cause the wearer to feel claustrophobic, dry out the nasal passages, irritate facial skin, and knock off the mask while sleeping. It can also be difficult to adjust to the air pressure.
– Unlike a CPAP machine, an oral appliance is small and travels wherever you go.
– It’s not noticeable when the mouth is closed, so it doesn’t disturb your sleep partner.
– Results are instantaneous as patients feel an improvement in their sleep right away.
– The appliance doesn’t use electricity to operate.
If you have sleep apnea or would like to learn more about wearing an oral appliance to help your constant snoring or waking up through the night, we welcome you to reach out to our team. We look forward to helping you get the treatment you need for a peaceful night’s sleep.