Are you one of the millions who suffer from chronic headaches? Even if you have tried over-the-counter pain relievers and other headache remedies, recurring headache pain and discomfort can derail...
Sleep apnea is a serious condition. While treating it is going to help protect your health and boost your daily comfort, a CPAP machine can leave something to be desired.
Fortunately, your treatment could potentially get a whole lot simpler.
Dental sleep apnea treatment helps patients breathe easy throughout the night – and it does so without bulky tubes or a mask attached to your face. Depending on your case, you might be an ideal candidate for a simple mouthpiece that keeps your airway open while you sleep.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Hoffman if you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, or if you’d like to discuss alternatives to a CPAP machine that you currently use. Before your appointment, read on to learn more about what this process might be like, and whether you’re a likely candidate for dental sleep apnea treatment.
How Can an Oral Appliance Treat Sleep Apnea?
CPAP machines regulate your breathing by increasing the air pressure in your throat. An oral appliance also helps ensure consistent breathing through the night, but does so by keeping your airway open. This is accomplished one of two ways –
- Moving the lower jaw slightly forward
- Holding the tongue in place or slightly forward
Because obstructive sleep apnea is caused by tissues blocking the throat, preventing the jaw or tongue from falling back will keep your airway clear. This stops you from experiencing a blockage and then the snoring or choking that accompanies it.
Top Benefits of Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea
- Far less bulky – If you’ve been using a CPAP device, you’re probably going to be amazing by the difference in the two treatment methods. And if you’re a frequent traveler or you enjoy camping, your oral appliance will allow you to enjoy your activities much more easily and with less planning ahead. Simply pop your oral appliance in its case when you’re not using it, and it becomes immediately portable. Because an oral appliance is much smaller and less noticeable, you can also feel more comfortable and have a shorter adjustment period. And you will be less self-conscious if you share your bed with a spouse or partner.
- Effectiveness – Oral appliances can be used in combination with PAP therapy. This helps patients who require especially high pressure to receive effective CPAP treatment feel more comfortable and breathe regularly.
- Affordability – Oral appliances can be cheaper than CPAP devices, and are often covered by medical insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. You may need to try PAP therapy first or get a referral from your dentist – ask your insurance provider for specifics to ensure you get the best coverage.
- Sound – Instead of having to deal with the sounds that accompany a CPAP machine (not to mention the snoring or choking that can occur if your sleep apnea has not been treated), your bedmate will enjoy the quiet of a dental appliance.
Am I A Candidate for Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment?
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you could be a candidate for an oral appliance. But you will need to get a little more detailed as to the severity of your sleep apnea before you put all your eggs in the oral appliance basket.
Oral appliances are appropriate for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Those with more severe sleep apnea will need to use a CPAP machine or other therapies.
If you’re not sure about the severity of your sleep apnea, there are a few factors to consider – one of the most notable is the number of breathing pauses that occur each hour. This information can be learned during a sleep study.
Those who suspect they might have sleep apnea but have never been professionally examined should schedule a consultation with a sleep specialist. They may recommend that you undergo a sleep study, which will provide detailed information about the severity of your sleep apnea. During this study, you sleep as you do normally, but in a controlled environment while lab equipment monitors your vitals.
Take this sleep apnea quiz to start thinking about the kind of questions the specialist will ask.
What Will My Oral Appliance Be Like?
We provide sleep apnea treatment with the ResMed Narval CC. This appliance is especially lightweight and minimal compared to other sleep apnea appliances. This helps patients feel as comfortable as possible, which encourages them to use their appliances and see ideal treatment results.
The Narval also has the unique advantage of articulation between the top and bottom pieces, allowing the patient to speak and drink without taking out the appliance. The appliance is adjustable by the dentist so that the lower portion can be moved forward to keep the airway clear.
After you begin using your oral appliance, Dr. Hoffman will likely recommend that you undergo a home sleep test so that you can be sure that the device is effective.