Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that occurs when a person suffers from interrupted breathing during the sleep. Usually, such people tend to wake up frequently with a loud gasp because of insufficient oxygen supply to their respiratory system.
There are two types of sleep apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. The former one, abbreviated OSA, is more common in the United States, and it occurs when the soft tissues located in the back of the throat collapse during sleep. This will block their airways, leading to a restricted airflow. In the case of Central Sleep Apnea, the airways are not blocked totally; instead, there will be instability in the respiratory system control center in this case. As a result, the brain will not be able to signal the soft tissues and muscles to function.
Both these types of sleep apnea may result in making a person prone to a series of health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, headaches, ADHD, depression, snoring, etc. In addition to that, untreated sleep apnea will also affect the performance of a person in his everyday activities as well.
Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard
It is really crucial to take adequate treatment if a person experiences any sleep apnea symptoms. Doctors usually recommend using oral devices in order to alleviate the symptoms related to the condition. Such mouthpieces are designed in such a way that they keep the airways open when a person sleeps. However, Central Sleep Apnea cannot be treated by using a sleep apnea mouth guard because its root causes will be associated with the nervous system of the person.
There are different types of mouth guards available to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea though, and doctors suggest them to their patients depending on the intensity of the sleep disorder. Some of the commonly used aids to tackle sleep apnea are CPAP machine, Mandibular Advancement Devices, tongue retaining device, etc. Out of this, a CPAP machine is required only when a person is suffering from an acute stage of obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard and Snore Guard
Most people have a misconception that oral devices for sleep apnea and a snore guard are the same. Actually, sleep apnea mouthpieces are considered as medical appliances and cannot be used without a doctor’s prescription. On the other hand, a snore guard is not regarded as a medical device, and hence, it does not require a prescription. In some cases, a sleep apnea mouth guard may cure snoring issues, but the reverse cannot be assured. Below are some in-depth details about sleep apnea oral appliances.
Uses and Indications
Sleep apnea oral devices will be a good option for people who are in the initial stages of sleep apnea. In some cases, snorers who are not suffering from OSA, travelers, etc., can also use a sleep apnea mouth guard. There are many symptoms, that indicate the necessity of a mouth guard, and some of those signs are given below.
- A sore throat
- Fragmented sleep
- Irritability and fatigue
- Daytime sleepiness
- Memory loss and frequent headaches
- Lack of concentration
Benefits of Using a Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard
Compliance – One of the main advantages of using a sleep apnea mouth guard is its compliance. In the case of CPAP machines, it will be a bit challenging for people to deal with it because of multiple tubes and filters associated with it. In fact, a recent study reports that 50% of CPAP users tend to discontinue it within the first three weeks. For such people, a dental device will be a realistic option.
Handiness – Even if you are using a CPAP machine, it will be hard to use it regularly. In such cases, a sleep apnea mouth device can be your savior since it is easier to use. Usually, people who are using CPAP machines will keep an alternate dental device in hand so that they can use it as a backup. For instance, consider a situation where you need to clean, repair, or replace their CPAP machines.
Comfort – Unlike CPAP machines, mouth guards engage only with your mouth. In addition, users will not have to stress about the side effects such as acne breakouts, skin reactions, ingrown hairs, or skin reactions while using an oral device. Another advantage is that a mouth guard will not affect the nostrils, and hence, it will be comfortable to use it even if you have flu or cold.
Ease of Use and Maintenance – Since there are no tubes or wires associated with a mouth guard, you can use it easily. Likewise, you can clean it easily as well; just soak it in a cleaning solution for a certain period of time and rinse it thoroughly using normal water. Note that the cleaning solution for different oral devices may vary depending on its material composition.