Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you may stop breathing many times during the night for intervals of 10 seconds or longer. These are called apneic events and may occur multiple times every hour. When they occur routinely more than 5 times per hour the medical diagnosis is sleep apnea. After an apneic event, normal breathing starts again, sometimes but not always with a loud snort or choking sound. Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you'll often move out of deep sleep and into a light sleep. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is the leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness which is often associated with motor vehicle accidents. Medical problems such as heart attack, stroke, weight gain, and diabetes are brought on and greatly exacerbated in people who suffer from sleep apnea. People used to say "Oh, he just died in his sleep", but more accurately the person probably died from complications related to untreated sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
- Loud Snoring
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
- Morning Headaches
- Difficulty with concentration, memory, and focus
- Disrupted Breathing
- Dry Mouth
- Awakening with Dry Mouth or Sore Throat
- Difficulty Staying Asleep Through the Night
- Weight Gain
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Nocturia (waking during the night to go to the bathroom)
Why Choose an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea?
There are many sleep apnea treatment options, and the right one for you depends on many factors, but there are many good reasons to consider an oral appliance for your sleep apnea treatment.
Oral appliances have been thoroughly tested, and they have shown that they are effective in treating sleep apnea. They can reduce or eliminate snoring and daytime sleepiness, and can dramatically reduce your risks related to sleep apnea. The science is clear: they are a viable treatment alternative to CPAP.
Treats All Levels of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances can be used to treat all levels of obstructive sleep apnea, but are most successful in mild to moderate cases. They will give an improvement of sleep apnea symptoms and reduce sleep apnea severity for patients with all levels of apnea. That being said, people with severe obstructive sleep apnea should try CPAP first. Oral appliances can be used if you can’t tolerate CPAP, but they’re considered a secondary line of treatment for severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Oral appliances are about the simplest piece of medical equipment you will ever own. You just put it in and go to sleep! It may take a couple of days to get it completely comfortable, but there’s nothing to plug in, no settings to adjust, no hoses to put together, no reservoirs to monitor or fill. Maintenance is simple, too. Rinse and brush it every day and soak it occasionally to keep it clean. That’s about all it takes to keep it functioning properly.
Easy to Transport
If you’ve ever traveled with CPAP, you know what a pain that can be. If you try to take your home unit, you might need a separate bag for the device and all its accessories. A travel CPAP is a little better, but might not have all the features you’re used to. And while most TSA agents now recognize a CPAP machine, it can still be a pain at the airport.
Oral appliances, on the other hand, can fit in your pocket or purse. It’s the kind of thing you can grab on your way out the door, not something you have to plan to be able to carry.
But the thing that many people enjoy most about oral appliances is how comfortable they are. It’s not just that you don’t have the mask, the hose, the straps, and the entire apparatus connected to your face. Those are the things that can make CPAP uncomfortable, and an oral appliance doesn’t have that, but in addition, oral appliances can be just comfortable to wear.