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Pros and Cons of Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the worst sleep disorders in which a person stops breathing periodically throughout the night due to physical obstructions in the air passage of the nostrils. The stopping lasts for 7-10 seconds and is often followed by short snorts as the person’s body fights to resume breathing again. With time, sleep apnea can also lead to severe problems and ailments like high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, increased risk of diabetes, day sleepiness, etc.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) therapy is still the most prescribed therapy option for reducing sleep apnea symptoms. But, even with all the options available in the CPAP therapy, some people are still unable to tolerate any kind of PAP due to discomfort. For these patients, there are several dental appliances for sleep apnea recommended by the doctors. There are two major categories of dental appliances:

  1. Mandibular advancement devices

  2. Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces

These dental appliances for sleep apnea are the alternative treatments for many patients who can’t use or don’t want to use PAP therapy. They come in many different designs, but are usually custom made for individual patients.

Pros of Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea

  • Many patients find dental appliances to be more comfortable and tolerable than wearing CPAP masks.

  • Patients observe a remarkable reduction in sleep apnea symptoms over time, especially if they generally sleep on their back or stomach.

  • These appliances are known to improve the quality and quantity of sleep

  • Using these appliances is a safe, drug, and surgery-free form of treatment

  • Less expensive than average CPAP machines

  • Patients who use dental appliances for sleep apnea don’t complain of dry, itchy noses which usually happens due to the air pressure drying out their sinuses.

  • These appliances don’t entangle while sleeping or other rigorous movements.

  • As these appliances have a simple mechanism, they are easy to carry while traveling.

Cons of Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea

  • Uncomfortable to wear and sleep with.

  • Often causes discomfort or pain near the temporomandibular joint (the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull).

  • Dental appliances are not the substitute for Positive Air Pressure therapy for most patients but only a temporary backup solution.

  • Many patients experience excessive salivation or dry mouth and lips in some cases when they use tongue retaining mouthpiece devices.

  • Not very effective or helpful for patients with severe sleep apnea.

  • May also possibly cause damage or permanent change to jaw position.

  • Can result in loosening of dental restorations like crowns and bridges.

Sleep apnea is a condition that responds to proper treatment and hence, there are several dental appliances for sleep apnea available. If you have been facing symptoms of sleep apnea, visit Downtown Dental in Edmonton today. Our qualified dentists will help you in selecting the correct dental appliances.

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