A Look at Sleep Apnea Devices
You Can Treat Sleep Apnea Without a CPAP Machine
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you are numbered among more than 20 million Americans who suffer from this sleep disorder. Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, daytime grogginess, and decreased mental focus. The health hazards of OSA can also be far-reaching, including increased blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and other life-altering consequences. Fortunately, sleep apnea devices are available to treat the underlying causes of OSA, helping to restore your health and quality of life. Compare your options here.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines
This is the most commonly prescribed method for treating sleep apnea. With this approach, you wear a mask connected to a CPAP machine, which continuously blows air into your throat, helping your airway remain open to promote regular breathing during sleep. CPAP treatment also eases snoring, relieves daytime tiredness, and lowers blood pressure.
Despite the benefits, many patients dislike CPAP machines. Some find the mask cumbersome, and the machine can be inconvenient to use, especially during travel. You may have trouble falling asleep because of the noisy machine, or you may wake up frequently if the uncomfortable mask pulls on your skin. Other complaints include dry throat, nasal irritation, nosebleeds, and feelings of confinement. Because of these drawbacks, you may be interested in pursuing an alternative sleep apnea treatment.
Custom Oral Sleep Appliances
If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, you may be eligible for custom oral sleep appliances. Also known as mandibular advancement devices (MAD), these products are custom-made by your dentist to fit your mouth. They resemble a mouth guard you might wear while playing sports. Their purpose is to hold your lower jaw forward slightly so the tissues at the back of your mouth remain in a more taut position. This way, your airway remains open, even when your muscles relax as you fall asleep.
Several types of MADs are available today, all with slightly different designs, comfort levels, and effectiveness. One such device is called the Moses. The innovative design includes an open anterior, so wearers can drink and speak, yet still close their lips with the appliance in place. The Moses Elite offers the added benefit of in-office vertical adjustments to achieve just the right fit. Both versions of this oral sleep device are FDA-cleared for treating obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, and nighttime tooth grinding.
Also called a tongue sleeve, this plastic device sits toward the front of your mouth and holds your tongue in a slightly stuck-out position. As with MADs, tongue-retaining devices are designed to treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. However, they are prescribed less often than other oral sleep appliances.
Surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The standard procedure for treating obstructive sleep apnea is called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This involves removing some of the soft tissue from the back of the throat. Doctors usually only recommend surgery if sleep apnea drastically affects your quality of life and other non-invasive treatments have failed to make a difference.
Treat Sleep Apnea with Our Help
At Smiles @ Southcenter in Tukwila, WA, our experienced dental team offers sleep apnea screenings and treatments for mild to moderate cases. After a monitored sleep test called a polysomnogram, we’ll tell you whether you’re a candidate for a custom oral sleep appliance. We proudly offer the Moses, which is most likely covered by your insurance. With this solution, you can control your sleep apnea and get a better night’s sleep than you’ve had in years! Set an appointment with us today to find out if an oral sleep appliance is the right sleep apnea treatment for you.