Sleep Apnea and Oral Appliances

Can You Use Dental Appliances to Treat Your Sleep Apnea? Find Out Now!

Introduction 

Do you wonder why you feel tired even though you have slept at least 8 to 9 hours last night? Are there any chances that you might suffer from sleep apnea? If you are reading our article, chances are that, yes, you suffer from this potentially dangerous and life-threatening sleep disorder. Luckily for you, researchers all around the world are working towards finding an effective treatment plan just for you. Today, we will talk about their latest findings – the use of dental appliances in the treatment of sleep apnea.  

What do you need to know about sleep apnea?

Described as a potentially serious sleep disorder, sleep apnea is the term that is being used to talk about a condition in which the breathing continuously stops and starts throughout the night. There are three types of sleep apnea, of which the obstructive sleep apnea is the most common one. Symptoms include loud snoring, morning headache, insomnia, fatigue, irritability etc. Risk factors include old age, use of alcohol, obesity, smoking and family history as the most common ones. Sleep apnea should be treated as soon as possible due to the increased risks that this disorder comes with such as the increased risk of stroke[i]heart disease[ii], diabetes and even cancer[iii] 

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The use of dental appliances for sleep apnea

Thanks to the extended research, nowadays we have the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices which is an effective and most commonly used treatment for patients with sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) maintains the air pressure that is breathed continuously during sleep, making sure that the airway passage is open and the breathing is constant during the sleep. However, not all patients are compatible with this treatment plan, which created the need to find another effective treatment plan for sleep apnea. That brings us to the use of dental appliances[iv] in the treatment of sleep apnea. Dental appliances, also known as oral appliances, may consists of any material, although it is plastic and metal which are most commonly being used, in the form of a retainer which fits into the oral cavity, in between the teeth, making sure that the tongue is held in place and preventing it to obstruct the airway or anything that might obstruct the airway at that point. Created individually for each patient, the dental appliances create the opportunity to have a good night sleep without any sleep apnea symptoms. They come in a form similar to one of the mouthpieces that football players usually use, fitting one piece on the lower and one piece on the upper jaw, making sure that the airway is open and there is a continuous breathing process going on while sleeping. Both your chin and jaw are kept forwards preventing your tongue to block the airway. Plus, dental appliances have been preferred [v]by patients over the use of continuous positive airway pressure devices. As we mentioned earlier, the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) cannot be used by every single patient. Usually, it is patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms, especially the obstructive sleep apnea which find the use of oral appliances more effective as compared with the use of the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. The use of dental appliances so far has resulted in great effects, treating the symptoms of moderate to more severe obstructive sleep apnea. Although more research is required on this very same topic, what we have read until now it is quite convincing and enough to cause optimism around the patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. If you do decide on this approach, make sure that you consult your doctor and dentist so that he or she can determine if you are the right candidate for such treatment. Although this is quite the safe and non-invasive treatment plan, not every patient can make a use out of it, which is why it is vital for patients to talk to their doctors before they do anything on their own.

Conclusion 

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you might want to talk about the use of dental appliances, which have been scientifically proven to work as an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, with your doctor. This recent treatment plan has already helped thousands of patients to conquer their sleep apnea symptoms and reduce all of the risks that this common sleep disorder brings upon. Created individually, these devices are bound to help you get a good night sleep once and for all.  

References

[i] Sharma S, Culebras A, (2016), Sleep apnoea and stroke, Stroke and vascular neurology 1(4): 185–191
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435217/

[ii] Marshall NS, Wong KKH, Liu PY, Cullen SRJ, Knuiman MW, Grunstein RR, (2008), Sleep apnea as an independent risk factor for all cause-mortality: The Busselton health study, Sleep 31(8): 1079–1085
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2542953/

[iii] Garvey JF, Pengo MF, Drakatos P, Kent BD, (2015), Epidemiological aspects of opstructive sleep apnea, Journal of Thoracic Disease 7(5): 920–929
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4454867/

[iv] Sutherland K, Vanderveken OM, Tsuda H, Marklund M, Gagnadoux F, Kushida CA, Cistulli PA, (2014), Oral appliance treatment for obstructive sleep apnea:an update, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 10(2): 215–227
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3899326/

[v] Chan AS, Lee RW, Cistullia PA, (2007), Dental appliance treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, Chest 132(2):693-9
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17699143

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