What is a Sleep Appliance?
A sleep appliance is a custom-fit mouth guard that is designed to keep the airway open while you sleep. If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, but can’t adjust to life with the CPAP, an oral device may be a better option. Oral sleep appliance is portable, easy to wear, and doesn’t require a noisy machine.
How Do They Work?
Oral sleep devices fit in your mouth like an orthodontic mouthguard. The goal of the device is to keep your airway open while you sleep. It keeps your airway from collapsing, allowing you to breathe better at night.
There are two types of sleep appliances. The mandibular advancement device (MAD) forces the jaw forward, increasing the size of the upper airway. The tongue-retaining device keeps the tongue in place so your airway stays open.
Sleep appliances are most effective for people with mild sleep apnea. If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, but cannot live with your CPAP, sleep apnea surgery may be a better option.
Get the Right Appliance.
A sleep apnea appliance is very different from a regular mouthguard. Sleep appliances are built specifically to help with sleep apnea in a way regular mouthguards aren’t. So, if you are considering a device you need to make sure it is prescribed by your dentist.
**Do not just go to the store and buy a mouthguard from the sports department.**
What Are the Advantages?
Many patients find that sleep appliances have several advantages over CPAP machines. They are great if you travel a lot because you don’t have to carry a machine around everywhere. Because they don’t require you to wear a mask, many people find them easier to wear.
Are There Disadvantages to Sleep Appliances?
While there are many advantages to using a sleep appliance, there are several disadvantages you need to be aware of. As we’ve already mentioned, oral devices are not as effective for people with more severe sleep apnea. Because of how they move the jaw, there is also potential damage to the jaw joint. You may also experience pain in your teeth along with excess salivation.
Managing Sleep Apnea with Sleep Appliances.
Oral appliances are a helpful way for you to manage sleep apnea. If you are tired of trying to deal with the CPAP machine, an oral appliance might be the next step.