Sleep apnea is a common disorder where breathing repeatedly stops during sleep. The main cause of sleep apnea is the blockage of the airway. It can also be caused due to the malfunctioning of the brain's respiratory control center. This makes the brain fail to signal the lungs to breathe in. Sleep apnea is considered to be a severe sleep disorder as it can lead to several health issues.
Sleep apnea is most common in men and people who are overweight, but anyone can suffer from it.
What is a Sleep Apnea Appliance?
A sleep apnea appliance is used to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This helps to keep the tongue from falling back into the throat, which will keep obstructive sleep apnea sufferers from snoring and gasping for air.
This appliance is retained by attaching to the upper and lower molars. The molar sections are separated by a channel, which places pressure on the lower jaw to break free from the airway blockage. This keeps the throat open, allowing for more airflow.
Types of Sleep Apnea Appliances
Sleep apnea appliances are designed to gently move the lower jaw forward, which tightens the airway and helps keep the airway open while you sleep. Sleep apnea appliances are an option for patients who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
The common types of sleep apnea appliances are as follows:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
A CPAP machine blows air through a mask or nosepiece, helping to ease airway obstruction. A patient will need a prescription for a CPAP and will need to see a sleep specialist for fitting and instruction.
- Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)
A MAD is similar to a mouthguard, but it is custom-made to fit your mouth and is made of articulating materials. It moves your jaw forward, opening up your airway.
- Tongue Retaining Devices (TRDs)
Tongue retaining devices are used primarily to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. These appliances work by holding the jaw forward, preventing the tongue and tissues from collapsing into the throat. This helps the airways stay open throughout the night, reducing snoring and sleep apnea.
Oral appliances are custom fit to your upper and lower teeth. They hold your lower jaw forward, which improves airflow. Many patients prefer OAs because they are comfortable and easy to wear.
Oral appliances are similar to sports mouthguards. They are comfortable because they are made of soft plastic and fit snugly over your teeth. They hold your upper and lower jaw forward, which prevents your airway from collapsing.
Please schedule an appointment online or call dentist Mesa, AZ at (480) 838-8558 to have a consultation with Dr. Christopher Payne, and we will be happy to help.