Dental Device For Sleep Apnea: Do They Work?


Do you find difficulty in breathing while sleeping and sleep with an open mouth to fulfill your oxygen requirement? If yes, then, most probably, you must be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a kind of sleeping disorder that interrupts your sleeping pattern. This is one of the major problems that affect the overall quality of sleep and may impact your daily routine.

However, it can be treated through dental devices for sleep apnea, which is also called dental appliance therapy. But before that, it is essential to understand its seriousness and find the best device accordingly.

What Is Meant By Sleep Apnea? How Do you fix it?

Dental Device For Sleep Apnea

Before choosing the best device to get relief from a sleeping disorder, it is essential to understand its term and how sleep apnea is caused. As we have discussed above, sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that enables a person to breathe from now when they are in bed. The situation becomes more chronic when it is left untreated for several months and even years, where a person may face difficulties in sleep for hundred times during the night.

There are three types of sleep apnea, i.e., obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central, and mixed. Among them, obstructive is the most common, which occurs when the upper airway is blocked either partially or completely. During this period, a person may feel pressure in his/her lungs because the diaphragm and chest muscles work hard to accumulate the position inside the body.

The next is central sleep apnea (CSA), which occurs rarely but can cause some serious health issues. It usually occurs due to instability in the respiratory control system, because of which the brain fails to single the organ to breadth. Apart from these two sleeping disorders, mixed apnea is another sleeping problem that is a combination of obstructive and central apnea.

Dental Devices For Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Depending on the type and seriousness of apnea sleeping disorder, the doctor can recommend several types of dental devices. In general, it is called a mouth guard, mouth device, or apnea oral device that is used in apnea therapy.

Mouth Device is the most common type of device that is used in mild oral appliance apnea (OPA). These devices are mainly used to treat continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which provides mild air passages to the respiratory system during your sleep. This is one of the most effective treatments where a dentist or orthodontist may recommend you to wear the appliance in your mouth, which may include two more devices.

Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)

MAD looks very similar to a mouth guard, which is used by sportspersons while practicing their game. The device provides support to the upper and lower dental arches, which contain hinges that contribute to supporting the jaw.

Additionally, the apparatus contains an air control mechanism called a Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP), through which you can control your air passages.

Tongue Retaining Device (TRD)

Tongue-retaining devices are another appliance that is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. When compared to MAD, tongue retaining is rarely used, where the dentist uses splints to hold the tongue in place to allow air passage during sleep. This device is mainly used by a person who sleeps on their back or stomach to improve sleep and reduce the frequency of snoring.

Here, you have to note that these devices are customized according to the structure of the patients. So, if you decide to get treatment for ur OSA, the dentist may recommend oral appliance therapy. According to the diagnosis report, an orthodontist will make custom-fit oral appliances for you.

How Dental Appliances Work To Treat OSA?

The dentist mainly uses sleep apnea devices to keep the airflow in your mouth and lungs when you are sleeping. The device is used to hold the tongue in place and avoid blockage in the mouth and even in your nose. You can find several commercial MADs available in the market in different sizes.

However, dentists prefer to use custom-made dental devices as they are easy to fit according to the user’s needs. They usually use prefabricated thermoplastic devices or “boil and bite” because they don’t need any plaster cast to mold the apparatus. Instead, they boil it to make it soft and directly fit in the mouth of the patients.

After cooling down, it becomes rigid and takes a permanent shape according to the needs of the individual. Now, one can easily use this to sleep during their sleep and solve their obstructive apnea effectively. Additionally, they can improve their overall sleeping pattern, which may help them stay fresh and energetic throughout the day while improving their overall productivity.

Oral Appliance Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

A person suffering from OSA can go through various health issues that are related to their sleeping disorder. An individual may create loud snoring, which may disturb their partners as well. At the same time, they may feel sleepiness during the daytime, which may impact their sexual life too.

Well, using the MADs can improve one's sleeping pattern, which is crucial to staying fresh and active during the day. Additionally, it can improve various health issues like pain in the jaw and teeth and improve mouth dryness. Apart from that, it may also promote the correct biting and make it easier to carry longer, which is beneficial during traveling.

Final Words

Sleep apnea, or obstructive SA, is a common disease that has been affecting people around the world. Therefore, its treatment is essential and can be solved by using using mouthguards like MADs and TRD. Additionally, these devices are custom-made by professional dentists to fit your mouth perfectly.

Hence, you can also find various benefits, as they are lightweight, fully mechanical, and can be worn during long traveling. In addition, these devices are also helpful in managing various dental issues and improving your sleeping pattern to stay focused throughout your daytime.


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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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