For patients with sleep apnea, the most common treatment prescribed by doctors is a CPAP machine. This helps patients with sleep apnea to get a good night’s sleep. However, did you know there is an alternative to these clunky, noisy devices that is growing in popularity? There is! The other option is an oral appliance, which is similar to a sports mouthguard, but is called a mandibular advancement device. Oral appliances have been shown to work as well as CPAP in treating sleep apnea for those who are good candidates.
Why are they popular?
Oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea have been around for less time than CPAP therapy, but they continue to grow in popularity. These devices can be just as effective as CPAP for the right patient.
Patients with sleep apnea who are prescribed to wear a CPAP machine mask through the night are told to do so because it keeps the airway open, allowing for a better night’s sleep. But CPAP devices can be annoying to use, especially when traveling.
Sometimes wearing the mask can make people feel claustrophobic. Meanwhile the noise of the machine can disturb some bed partners. On top of that, people using CPAP can also suffer from dry eyes, nose bleeds and sores on their face. That is why many are turning to oral appliance therapy if applicable for their sleep apnea condition.
Oral appliances keep airways open
An oral appliance consists of two pieces that cover the upper and lower teeth like a sports mouthguard. Those pieces are then connected by a mechanism that uses your upper jaw as leverage to push the lower jaw forward.
Bringing the lower jaw forward and getting the tongue base out of the way of the airway, it is a way to manually splint the airway open. But unlike over the counter mouthguards, oral appliances are custom-made by dentists working with sleep doctors. It’s a win-win for everyone.