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Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea: What You Need to Know
- Updated: April 19, 2017
Sleep apnea is a condition where airflow to the lungs is blocked while you are sleeping. It belongs to a serious sleep disorder because it can cause heart problem and other complication. Because it is an acute condition, it needs treatments that include drugs and devices to open up the blocked airway. You can tell that you have sleep apnea from some symptoms like loud snoring, sudden awakenings, insomnia, and hypersomnia. Often when you wake up, you will get sore throat and dry mouth. These symptoms look not serious and some people may think that these are just common problems caused by tiredness. In fact, the condition can get severe. You should see a doctor when the problems start bothering you and others. For example when you snore very loud or when you always feel drowsy you should ask for a medical help.
Doctors will diagnose your disease and decide the right treatment and drugs to make you feel better. For mild sleep apnea, most doctors won’t prescribe any drugs nor suggest you some therapies. Instead, they will only suggest lifestyle change. However there are also serious conditions where surgery is required. Talking about treatments for sleep apnea, the most common one using devices. There are a number of devices used to treat sleep apnea depending on the condition of patients. Actually the most effective one is using CPAP which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. You are required to wear a mask with a large tub connecting the mask to the CPAP machine. The machine will blow air down your throat.
However, many patients give up on CPAP because it is not comfortable. Moreover, it is somehow difficult to use. You should talk to your doctor before deciding to stop using CPAP especially for severe condition of sleep apnea. If you have milder to moderate sleep apnea, perhaps your doctor will suggest you to use oral appliance for sleep apnea as the substitute of CPAP. This is also called a mouth device because it is worn in the mouth while you are sleeping at night.
There are some mouth devices used to treat sleep apnea. They keep your tongue in its position so the airway will not be blocked and will not cause snoring. Oral appliances, as well as other treatments, work differently on different people. The appliances work the most effectively when you lie on your side. For overweight people, they are less effective. Oral appliances are recommended for mild to intermediate sleep apnea. However these devices are not really helpful for people who have a more severe condition.
Do oral appliances have side effects? Well, a mouth device should not cause problems as long as it is fitted properly on your mouth. You may feel discomfort in the early times you use it but as you get used to it, the discomfort will disappear. As mentioned above, there are some types of oral appliances. Talk to your dentist to decide which appliance to use. You can also take a look at oral appliance for sleep apnea reviews. Follow up by having regular check up to see whether other side effects occur.