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Oral Appliance Therapy
Treating sleep apnea reveals multiple options. The most common way to solve the symptoms the condition brings is through oral appliance therapy. At Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness we want everyone to get a good night’s rest and live happily. Here is what an oral appliance can do for you.
Mouthguards and Sleep Apnea
Oral appliance therapy refers to mouthguards that are specifically designed for sleep apnea patients. There are two types of mouthpieces. One is called a Mandibular Advancement Device or MAD for short. It moves the lower jaw and tongue forward to open the airway in the throat to allow air to pass through. The second type is called a tongue retaining device that holds the tongue in place to prevent it from falling backward and shutting the airway.
The process of receiving a mouthguard involves an examination to determine the extent of the condition. If a mouthguard is deemed enough to help treat the condition at night, then one will be custom-made for you based on an impression of your mouth.
A mouthguard for sleep apnea should fit comfortably and stay aligned. Custom mouthpieces are made to fit snugly in the mouth to avoid it moving out of place and/or becoming uncomfortable to wear. After all, going to bed when feeling uncomfortable does no favors for the quality of sleep you receive.
Are Mouthguards Better Or Worse Than CPAP devices?
Both mouthguards and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) can be used to treat mild cases of sleep apnea. A CPAP device will move air into the nose and mouth through a mask - essentially forcing in an increased amount of oxygen. There is a base with a motor that pushes the air through a long tube, called a cannula, that connects to the mask.
A mouthguard as previously stated will open up the airway to allow oxygen to get through. Ultimately, both methods go about solving the underlying issue in different ways and there isn’t a wrong answer as long as the method works.
What we can say is that you may find that a custom mouthguard is more convenient due to the fact that it does not require electricity to function and it is much easier to travel with due to the size advantage. However, some patients are more comfortable with a CPAP - it ultimately depends on your personal preference. You can talk to the doctor seeing you if you need a recommendation based on your initial needs.
It is worth noting that CPAP devices are oftentimes lower in cost than a custom mouthguard. It is estimated that the average amount spent on a CPAP is $850 while a mouthguard can cost $1800. Both support insurance coverage for sleep apnea patients, however.
If you are struggling with sleep apnea, we are here to help you at Chichetti & Patel Dental Wellness. If you would like to take steps towards treatment, you can contact us by calling our office at 704-629-8081. Your road to better sleep and better health overall can begin with us. We hope to see you soon!