An oral sleep apnea appliance prohibits your airway from collapsing either by holding your tongue or jaw in a forward position. Oral appliances are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to CPAP machines. Also known as mandibular advancement devices (MADs), sleep apnea oral appliances are two-piece devices that snap over your upper and lower arches. These custom-made mouth guards look similar to orthodontic retainers. They gently push your lower jaw and tongue forward so your throat stays open while you sleep. 

Snoring & sleep apnea applianceWhat is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a health condition in which your breathing stops and restarts many times while you sleep. This can prevent your body from getting enough oxygen. There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common type of sleep apnea, which is when your upper airway becomes blocked many times while you sleep, which reduces or completely stops airflow. 
  • Central Sleep Apnea: This happens when your brain does not send the signals needed to breathe. Health conditions that affect how your brain controls your airway and chest muscles can cause central sleep apnea.

How Do I know if I have Sleep Apnea?

These are the signs and risk factors for sleep apnea. 

  1. Do you usually get a full night’s sleep but wake up feeling tired most mornings?
  2. Have you been experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness and irritability?
  3. Do you wake up frequently during the night for unknown reasons (not due to noise or a need to go to the bathroom)?
  4. Does your partner report that you frequently stop breathing for 5-10 seconds or more at a time most nights? 
  5. Do you seem to be gasping for air during the night which often wakes you up?
  6. Do you have a BMI above 30, high blood pressure, or a wide neck circumference (>16 inches)?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions or you aren’t sure, you may want to consult with your physician and speak to Dr. Park about entering into a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea.

Benefits of Oral Sleep Apnea Appliances vs. CPAC Devices

Although using CPAP devices are commonly used for sleep apnea, oral sleep apnea appliances can also dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. Most patients start to feel a significant difference in their symptoms after the first night of use. Sleep apnea dental appliances provide many advantages over CPAP devices including:

  • Portable and easy-to-use and travel with
  • Does not require electricity as CPAP devices do
  • Does not make any noise allowing you to sleep quietly
  • Easy to maintain and clean

How Do I Obtain a Sleep Apnea Appliance?

Dr. Park or one of his team members will do an evaluation to see if you quality for an oral sleep apnea appliance. If we feel that this type of treatment is best for your situation,  we will take an impression of your mouth to make your sleep apnea dental appliance. The impressions are sent to a lab to custom design your sleep apnea device. When your appliance is ready, you’ll return to Irondequoit Family Dentistry for fittings and further adjustments to ensure optimal results.