Do Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea Actually Work?

Dental appliances for sleep apnea

Sleep Apnea Relief with Oral Appliances

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects roughly 22 million people. This sleep disorder has long been managed with the use of CPAP therapy and the nightly use of a machine to keep your airways open. However, CPAP machines aren’t the only treatment option available for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Dental appliances for sleep apnea may be your best option.

Dental appliances designed to reposition the jaw to relieve breathing impairment are a fantastic sleep apnea treatment alternative with many benefits. If you have just been diagnosed with OSA or are currently using a CPAP machine but feel unhappy with the treatment, Laurel Manor Dental can help you determine if an oral device is an ideal alternative.

What is sleep apnea and its symptoms?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that impacts a person’s ability to breathe while asleep.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea. OSA is by far the most frequently seen type of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is rarer as it involves malfunctioning brain signals leading to abnormal breathing. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both OSA and central sleep apnea.

OSA occurs when the soft tissues in the throat fall backward, blocking the airway and interrupting proper breathing. This usually results in chronic snoring, the hallmark symptom of OSA.

Other symptoms of OSA and other forms of sleep apnea include:

  • Chronic daytime fatigue.
  • Difficulty focusing during the day.
  • Waking up with a headache and dry mouth.
  • Bruxism (tooth grinding).
  • Moodiness and feeling easily irritated.
  • Partner noticing you stop breathing or gasp for breath while asleep.

How do I find out if I have sleep apnea?

Chronic snoring, daytime fatigue, and trouble staying asleep are all signs that point to sleep apnea, but you’ll still need a professional diagnosis for treatment.

Receiving an official diagnosis typically involves spending the night at a sleep lab for monitoring or an at-home sleep test. From there a sleep physician will be able to review your results and determine if you have sleep apnea, and if so, what type it may be.

After receiving a positive diagnosis, Laurel Manor SleepCare will request the results from your physician as the first step in developing your treatment plan. Dr. Rozensky will take a look at your paperwork, evaluate your symptoms, and discuss possible treatment options.

We provide support for patients requiring CPAP therapy, but our primary OSA treatment option is dental appliances for sleep apnea. If you have additional symptoms of bruxism or TMJ disorder, both common side effects of sleep apnea, Dr. Rozensky will incorporate this into your customized treatment plan.

Will I need to use a CPAP machine for my OSA?

CPAP machines are a common method of OSA management. CPAP therapy uses pressurized air to physically stop the airway from collapsing at night, ensuring that the wearer is able to sleep soundly without snoring or abnormal breathing. CPAP machines deliver this pressurized air either through a full mask, a nasal pillow, or a nasal mask. There are actually many different styles of masks and headgear for CPAP therapy, including plenty of comfortable and minimal designs.

CPAP machines are undoubtedly effective, but with advancements in sleep apnea oral devices, they are no longer the only treatment option. In most cases, you will only need to use a CPAP machine if you have severe OSA or complex sleep apnea. 

How do sleep apnea oral appliances work?

Oral appliances or devices specially designed for sleep apnea treatment gently move your jaw into a more forward position, which keeps your airway open by stopping the soft tissue in the throat from falling back. They keep your jaw in this position while you sleep and don’t require any sort of pressured air system like CPAP machines do.

Most oral appliances look very similar to mouthguards and they’ll be customized to fit your teeth, mouth size, and jaw shape. Dr. Rozensky will ensure your device is comfortable and effective in holding a proper resting jaw position.

How do I decide between a CPAP machine and an oral device?

Oral appliances are used in the treatment of mild to moderate OSA. If you have complex sleep apnea, CPAP therapy will be a safer and more successful option. Similarly, if you have more advanced OSA and try an oral appliance without relief, you’ll likely need to use a CPAP machine.

Many patients prefer an oral device as they are easy to use, very comfortable, and simple in design. Dr. Rozensky will evaluate your symptoms and severity of OSA to determine if an oral device will work well for your situation. In most cases, you’ll be able to try an oral device to see how well you respond to it.

Effective Sleep Apnea Treatment at Laurel Manor Dental

You deserve peaceful nights, snore-free sleep, and high energy levels during the day. If you believe you have sleep apnea or you’ve already been diagnosed and need treatment, we can help. We can also provide a second opinion on your current treatment option, such as if you’re currently using a CPAP machine but are interested in the possibility of an oral appliance instead. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Rozensky today by calling our office in The Villages, FL or requesting a visit online.