Oral appliances for sleep apnea
Posted by JOSEPH J. LEE on Apr 22 2019, 08:43 AM
Have you ever been suddenly woken up in the middle of your sleep due to the inability to breathe? Or, does your bed-mate always complain that you snore a lot and they’re frequently disturbed by it? This may not sound too serious and seem like a minor breathing issue, but it is much more! It’s called obstructive sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a major breathing disorder where the patient experiences a sudden inability to breathe when they’re sleeping. This occurs due to the collapse of the tissues in the throat that block the airway. The continuous supply of oxygen to the lungs and to the brain will be interrupted, which is when the brain signals the body to wake up. People who experience obstructive sleep apnea find it quite traumatic and disturbing as they experience a sudden jolt due to the blockage in the throat.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
- Sleep apnea majorly leads to lack of sleep. Since the patient is woken up from sleep quite frequently, the chances for them reaching deep sleep are next to none. This makes the patient feel sleepy during the daytime, which is why they tend to doze off often.
- Inadequate sleep makes the patient feel tired all day long. Lethargy would slowly set in which could indirectly lead to obesity. The cholesterol build up would in-turn fuel sleep apnea as the blockage near the throat would worsen.
- Bruxism is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. Bruxism is the subconscious grinding of teeth during sleep, which leads to TMJ disorder and excessive wear of teeth.
- Recurring headaches, especially soon after waking up, and sore throat due to snoring are pretty common.
Oral appliances to overcome sleep apnea
Earlier, people with sleep apnea had very few treatment options, most of which were barely effective. In recent times, the standards of sleep apnea treatment have improved so much that the oral appliances we use now are much effective, lighter and very comfortable. One of the most popular ones is the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure). It comprises of a mask that comfortably fits on the mouth and nose. It is connected to a continuous supply of oxygen which keeps the airway open throughout the night. The airway doesn’t get blocked and the lungs get a continuous supply of oxygen.
Another method of treating sleep apnea is using oral appliances. An oral appliance is a mouthguard-like wearable that you can be inserted into your mouth every time you go to sleep. It brings forward the lower jaw, thereby expanding the airway and letting in more air pass through it and also prevents the collapsing of the soft tissues from the roof of the throat. Its contour can be customized according to individual patient requirement. It is light, convenient, portable, easy to put on and take off, easy to clean, and very effective.
Don’t ignore sleep apnea as it can advance to many serious stages and lead to other health issues. Get the right treatment and return to having a sound sleep every single night.