Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea: Do They Work?

Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea: Do They Work?

August 1, 2022

Do you keep yourself and your partner awake during the night with loud snoring? Snoring is not just a nuisance but a severe sleep-related disorder, obstructive sleep apnea characterized by loud snoring, gasps, and grunts.

Obstruction of the airway temporarily by the tissue at the back of the throat results in breathing pauses repeatedly throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea does not merely leave you tired and groggy but also puts you at risk of various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and depression.

The most effective and optimal treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine, a tiny bedside device blowing air through a mask to prevent your airway from collapsing. Unfortunately, if you suffer from mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea, you might find it challenging to tolerate the CPAP machine and wonder about alternative therapies. However, you can find alternatives to deal with sleep apnea with dental appliances similar to mouthguards provided by dentists after carefully evaluating your symptoms and conducting overnight sleep studies from a clinic assisted by a sleep medicine specialist.

How Do Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea Function?

Dental appliances for sleep apnea are expected to reposition your jaw or tongue to open the upper airway. However, sleep specialists suggest doing your homework before considering any dental appliance as a suitable remedy for obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea Coquitlam mentions it is challenging to predict who might benefit from a dental appliance because if you suffer from extremely mild sleep apnea with few symptoms, you might not notice any difference. However, patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea or even severe sleep apnea finding it challenging to tolerate the CPAP machine are recommended dental appliances by the periodontist near Coquitlam, BC, as a reliable remedy.

Types of Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Mandibular Advancement Devices: Molded from hard plastic, these appliances snap over your upper and lower teeth. They also have metal hinges and screws which you can tighten to position your lower jaw forward. Many dentists have customized mandibular advancement devices created by prosthodontists near you to provide a personalized device. However, before purchasing the appliance, please discuss with your dentist whether they have experience in sleep-related disorders and are certified by the American Academy of sleep medicine. The discussion helps determine whether you are talking to a qualified dentist or noncertified dentists who merely take moulds of your teeth to have the device created by companies to sell it to you with a high markup.

Mouth Guards: Mouthguards are similar to mandibular advancement devices and help reposition your lower jaw. Sleep medicine specialists recommend the Somnodent appliance authenticated by the ASA because it is FDA-cleared sleep apnea and snoring treatment device. Or 80 percent of patients using the Somnodent appliance experience comfort with the device, which provides clinical benefits.

Tongue Retaining Devices: a tongue retaining device involves placing a soft plastic splint around your tongue to hold it forward and out of your mouth throughout the night. These devices can make your mouth dry and uncomfortable.

Dental appliances for sleep apnea are partially covered by dental insurance if used for obstructive sleep apnea. However, if they are used merely for managing simple storing dental insurance companies refuse coverage for the appliance.

How to Determine Whether You Need a Dental Appliance for Sleep Apnea?

The optimal technique to determine whether a dental appliance for sleep apnea is necessary is to have yourself fully diagnosed by your dentist by explaining your symptoms and preparing yourself to undergo a sleep study that the dentist will undoubtedly suggest.

A sleep study requires you to meet a sleep medicine specialist who recommends undergoing the polysomnography test in a sleep clinic to determine the severity of the condition affecting you. The polysomnography test is just as uncomfortable as the CPAP machine because it involves connecting tubes and wires to your body when sleeping overnight at the sleep clinic. You must wait for your results to arrive, confirming the severity of your condition before returning to your dentist for a prescription for the dental appliance to manage and overcome sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea affects 25 percent of men and 10 percent of women. Children are also affected by this condition, which causes various complications unless it receives proper treatment from a medical professional. If you are concerned about your loud snoring and suspect you might have sleep apnea, the Tri-Cities Dental Specialist can help diagnose your condition and recommend a dental appliance to treat the problem. Please contact them today to analyze yourself and begin your sleep apnea treatment.

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