Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that occurs when the muscles around the throat and tongue relax during sleep, blocking the airway. To keep breathing, patients continuously wake themselves throughout the night. Severe snoring and extreme daytime sleepiness are tell-tale signs of the condition. Even though it may seem like nothing can help, there is good news! Sleep apnea devices and CPAP machines can be effective treatments.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
Some medical professionals prescribe the use of a CPAP, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. This device constantly blows air down the throat to keep the airway open. It requires patients to wear a mask over their nose, or their nose and mouth. Patients may feel confined in the mask, and experience some of the following:
- Irritation on the face
- Soreness and dryness in the mouth
What are oral devices?
To avoid these side effects, a sleep apnea dentist may suggest that their patients use a sleep apnea mouthpiece. This oral device simply sits in the mouth at night and physically hold the airway open so patients don’t snore or stop breathing. Sleep apnea devices can hold the tongue out of the way or move the lower jaw forward.
A Sleep apnea mouthpiece often works well for patients with all types of apnea, including moderate to severe cases. Even if your case seems hopeless, a sleep apnea dentist may have a treatment that works for you.