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What To Know About Dental Devices for Sleep Apnea

woman waking up feeling refreshedThe search for an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be frustrating at times, as many roads lead back to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks. If you've already tried a CPAP mask, then you know how challenging it can be to stay compliant with treatment. However, what many patients with sleep apnea are unaware of is that there are effective alternative treatments for sleep apnea, such as a dental device that’s used in a treatment called oral appliance therapy.

In this blog, the sleep apnea specialist at eos dental sleep will provide an overview of the dental device for sleep apnea.

Why Is a Dental Device for Sleep Apnea Needed?

Sleep apnea is not a disorder that you can ignore. It's a chronic condition that disrupts sleep and prevents you from getting the restorative sleep you need to feel and function at your best. Someone who has sleep apnea has interrupted breathing at night – this means that the person stops breathing for short periods of time, and these episodes can happen anywhere from 5 to 100 times over the course of just one hour.

In order to feel well rested, a person needs to get a certain amount of deep, restorative sleep that occurs as part of an uninterrupted sleep cycle. If you spend most of your sleep time in the lighter parts of the cycle due to pauses in breathing, you will not wake up feeling refreshed. And, as a result, most patients with sleep apnea experience excessive daytime sleepiness that interferes with work, productivity and normal activities.

Additional symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Unexplained sore throat
  • Waking up gasping or feeling like you've been choking (this is due to the pauses in your breathing)
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Memory loss
  • Concentration problems
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability

What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?

Oral appliance therapy uses a custom-fit dental device that looks like a mouth guard –such as a guard you might wear to prevent tooth grinding and jaw clenching during sleep. A dental device for sleep apnea can help adjust the position of your tongue and other problematic soft tissue in your mouth, making it less likely that airway obstruction will occur. Some oral devices are also designed to advance the chin forward slightly in order to enlarge the airway, thus further minimizing the chance of blocked breathing.

If the cause of your snoring or sleep apnea is something that a dental device would be able to address – such as a narrow airway, large tongue or tongue with poor muscle tone – then this sleep apnea treatment may be a good option to help improve your sleep, your health, and your level of alertness when you're awake.

What Are the Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy?

A dental device for sleep apnea is worn only at night when you're asleep. Research has shown the device to be effective in treating both sleep apnea and snoring. It's also non-invasive and requires no surgery.

A dental device for sleep apnea is also:

  • Highly portable – this is a small device that can be taken easily on trips and stowed out of site in a bed side table when not in use
  • Easy to take care of – there are no moving parts, no plugs or wiring to worry about
  • Comfortable – it's made to fit your mouth for superior comfort and ease of use
  • Easy to wear – patients simply pop it in at night and pop it out in the morning
  • Quiet – it involves no noisy operating sounds, unlike CPAP machines

What Can I Expect From a Dental Device for Sleep Apnea?

After starting treatment with your dental device for sleep apnea, your sleep should improve quickly. Within just a few weeks of use, most patients report feeling more alert and having fewer physical and emotional symptoms.

Getting a full night's rest every night and treating snoring or obstructive sleep apnea can make you feel like you're living a new life. Your days will seem easier to get through, your mind will feel sharper, and you'll feel more energetic overall. If your bed partner was waking up due to your snoring, then he or she may notice drastic improvement as well.

Looking for a Dental Device for Sleep Apnea in Philadelphia?

At eos dental sleep, our dental sleep specialist is dedicated to helping you achieve the restful, restorative sleep you need to feel and function at your best. We specialize in alternative sleep apnea and snoring treatments such as oral appliance therapy without making you resort to using a CPAP mask.

Dental devices are comfortable and very easy to use, and most importantly, they are effective. Call us today to schedule an appointment in Philadelphia so you can be well on your way to getting a great night's sleep.