How Effective Are Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea?
Many patients with sleep apnea are told they need a CPAP machine to treat the condition, but they might have also been told about an alternative in an oral appliance. This can be more comfortable and quite effective for many patients, so let’s take a look at what these oral appliances are and how effective they are for sleep apnea!
How important is it to treat sleep apnea?
If you, your partner, or your child has sleep apnea, then you probably already know how much it can disturb the person’s sleep and the sleep of others in the household. The condition isn’t just disruptive, though; it can also lead to serious health issues like hypertension, heart disease, or, in children, behavioral issues. For many reasons like these, it’s really important to treat sleep apnea.
Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the patient’s particular case and needs. For example, a patient with sleep apnea caused by TMJ disorder can benefit from sleeping with an oral appliance, as can a patient looking for an alternative to a CPAP machine.
How is sleep apnea treated?
It’s common for sleep apnea to be treated with CPAP therapy using a CPAP machine. The machine delivers a steady stream of air into a patient’s airway to help with breathing at night. For many patients, CPAP therapy works well, but for others, it doesn’t suit or work for them. This might be the case if a patient finds the machine too loud to use (it can also disturb a partner during sleep). Because the machine requires a patient to wear a mask or a nose piece during sleep, it can be pretty uncomfortable for a patient too. Sleeping with an oral appliance, however, isn’t a problem, and it can treat many cases of sleep apnea.
Since an oral appliance is custom-made, comfortable, and very convenient to use, it’s preferred by many patients over other methods of treating sleep apnea. Additionally, an oral appliance can treat other, related issues too, such as jaw/facial pain. We provide oral appliances here at Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders, and one could work very well for your case of sleep apnea.
So how effective are oral appliances for sleep apnea?
When a patient sleeps with an oral appliance insert at night to treat his or her sleep apnea, this is called oral appliance therapy, and it can be truly therapeutic for a patient. This is because it’s very comfortable for the patient, especially since it can prevent the uncomfortable conditions that cause sleep apnea in the first place. In doing so, sleep apnea and its symptoms can be prevented.
Oral appliances work by helping the patient’s jaw, tongue, and airway rest naturally, and this is what can prevent the conditions (a blockage in or collapse of the airway) that cause sleep apnea. In fact, oral appliance therapy works so well that it is approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and after around 3 months of oral appliance therapy, many patients will be 90% symptom-free.
If you believe you or a loved one could be one of the many patients who benefit from oral appliances, then get in touch with us here at Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders. Our professionals can tell you everything else you’d like to know about oral appliances and how effective one could be for you. Our clinic has locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, so please see our Locations page for our locations’ addresses and contact information. Alternatively, you can just call us so we can help you find the location nearest you.