Taking care of your health starts with getting a good night’s sleep. If you wake up with headaches, struggle with fatigue throughout the day, or have issues with persistent disruption during sleep, then you may be struggling with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition where the soft tissues in the throat relax and obstruct your airway, inhibiting regular airflow to the lungs. This results in frequent sleep disruptions such as waking up gasping, or snoring.
Treating sleep apnea generally focuses on limiting obstructions in the throat by using oral appliances. With a few easy adjustments, you can transform the way you sleep for good.
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health?
Although sleep apnea is generally a manageable condition, it may result in serious side effects if left untreated.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Frequent sleep disruption.
- Fatigue during the day.
- Trouble focusing or concentrating.
- Dry mouth upon waking.
Many people suffer from sleep apnea without even realizing it’s causing their symptoms. While these side effects are certainly unpleasant in the short term, according to the Cleveland Clinic untreated sleep apnea can lead to “hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the muscle tissue of the heart), congestive heart failure, diabetes, and heart attacks.” Finding a solution for sleep apnea will not only improve your day-to-day well-being but will prevent more serious conditions from developing in the future.
Devices to Treat Sleep Apnea
The first step to improving your sleep quality is to decide which oral device works best for your needs and lifestyle. Remember, it’s important to consult with your doctor about potential treatments to ensure you receive the most effective care.
Widely regarded as the “gold standard” for sleep apnea treatment, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines are portable devices designed to push pressurized air into your airway. CPAP machines fit over the nose and mouth and consistently pump pressurized air into the airways, preventing soft tissues from collapsing. CPAP machines are a great option for treating more severe forms of sleep apnea.
Although CPAP machines are highly effective, some individuals find them uncomfortable, bulky or noisy. Due to the continuous airflow, CPAP machines often lead to side effects like dry mouth, sore throat, and even nosebleeds. Additionally, CPAP machines may inhibit comfortable breathing for individuals with weakened respiratory systems.
Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are small oral appliances designed to shift the position of the lower jaw. By shifting the jaw forward, MADs change the structure of the throat, preventing soft tissues from obstructing the airway. MADs are retainer-like devices that fit over the teeth, with adjustable hinges to customize the angle of the jaw. While pre-fabricated MADs are available, custom-made MADs are more effective when it comes to comfort and long-term wearability.
Since MADs fit over the teeth and directly alter the position of the jaw, they may cause teeth to shift or result in jaw pain over time. These devices may not be suitable for individuals who struggle with TMJ-related symptoms, or who have extensive dental alterations.
Tongue retention devices (TRDs) are designed to relieve symptoms of sleep apnea by holding the tongue in place at the front of the mouth. TRDs attach to the tip of the tongue and secure it in position so it doesn’t flop back into the throat and obstruct airflow. TRDs may be a more comfortable solution for individuals with jaw complications.
Due to their design, TRDs inhibit certain sleeping positions. Individuals who prefer to sleep on their stomachs may prefer to use MADs instead.
Benefits of Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Improving the quality of your sleep improves your overall health. Oral appliances for sleep apnea prevent airway obstruction, lessen nighttime disruptions, minimize snoring, and ensure a healthy flow of oxygen to your lungs.
The benefits of treating sleep apnea include:
- Lower risk of heart problems.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Lower risk of diabetes.
- Improved energy.
- Improved mood.
Improving Your Sleep with Dental Lab Direct
Ordering a custom-made appliance to treat your sleep apnea has never been easier. At Dental Lab Direct, custom sleep appliances are designed with comfort in mind. Plus, our three-step ordering process allows you to order your custom device from the comfort of your home. Made from high-quality FDA-approved materials, our devices are built to improve your sleep both now and for years to come.