Dr. Michael Handler

Sleep Apnea Appliances

By Dr. Michael Handler

Do you wake up tired after a full night’s rest? Do you snore loudly at night? If you experience these problems and feel extreme fatigue the morning after, you might be suffering from sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a medical disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you sleep. This can happen hundreds of times throughout the night. There are three types of sleep apnea, with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) being the most common form of this disorder. OSA is when the upper airways get partially or completely blocked during sleep.

CPAP Machines for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the most widely used treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. Using a tube and a face mask which you will wear while you sleep, the device gently forces pressurized air through your nose and mouth. The increased air pressure prevents your throat muscles from collapsing during sleep, keeping your airway open.

Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea

While CPAPs are the standard treatment for sleep apnea, oral appliances are becoming increasingly popular. Also known as mandibular advancement devices (MADs), sleep apnea oral appliances are custom-made mouthguards that look like orthodontic retainers. When worn at night, the mouthpieces reposition your jaws to keep the throat open while you sleep. Dental appliances for sleep apnea are designed to help prevent your airway from becoming obstructed by gently holding your tongue and jaw towards the front of your mouth. As you get ready for bed each night, just fit your appliances over your teeth and go to bed.

Although the most recommended treatment for sleep apnea, many patients can’t tolerate CPAP machines due to their inconvenience. Compared to CPAP devices, oral appliances are more comfortable to wear, resulting in a higher compliance rate and better treatment outcomes. When used consistently and under the guidance of your sleep apnea specialist, dental devices can considerably improve your sleep quality.

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