Minor sleep apnea can cause snoring and poor sleep, while more advanced cases can increase your chances of early death. One way to combat the deleterious effects of sleep apnea is with a sleep apnea oral appliance.
How Do The Appliances Work?
A sleep apnea oral appliance works by realigning your jaw while you sleep. Generally, this means that your lower jaw is moved forward when the appliance is in place. Most devices fit in the mouth, similar to an athletic guard or tooth grinding guard, but some more advanced models may also have a chin strap in the event that further alignment aid is needed. This brings more effective alignment to your breathing passages, thus mitigating the effects of sleep apnea.
Are They Suitable for All Sleep Apnea Patients?
Not everyone that suffers from sleep apnea is best served by a sleep apnea oral appliance. These appliance are most suited for those with minor sleep apnea that doesn't require the service of regular CPAP use. In some cases, CPAP users can use a sleep apnea oral appliance as a short term solution in cases where using a CPAP machine is difficult, such as when camping or traveling. You will need to talk with your doctor to verify that a sleep apnea oral appliance is the correct choice for you, whether you plan on regular or periodic use.
What Are the Primary Benefits?
There are many benefits to sleep apnea oral appliances. Most obvious is that there is no need for a CPAP machine. The appliance is very lightweight and it isn't hooked up to anything, which can make it much more comfortable to sleep in. Further, the appliance can cut down on or even eliminate snoring, which leads to a more restful night for both you and your bedmate. In some cases, regular use of a sleep apnea oral appliance may be able to help avoid the need for surgical solutions in the future.
Are The Appliances One Size Fits All?
Although a sleep apnea oral appliance may resemble a sports guard, it is actually a well designed medical device. This means that your appliance will be specifically molded to fit your mouth. Your doctor will take a cast of your mouth and palate, which will then be used in the lab to make the appliance. Your doctor may also add additional features to your appliance, such as the aforementioned chin straps, depending on your specific needs.
Contact a doctor to learn more about sleep apnea oral appliance therapy.