How Can a Dental Sleep Appliance Treat Sleep Apnea?

Jun 01, 2023

How Can a Dental Sleep Appliance Treat Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects breathing while you sleep. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the primary treatment for sleep apnea, but it’s not your only option.

If you find sleeping difficult with a mask over your nose and mouth, you may want to consider a dental sleep appliance for your sleep apnea.

At NY Metro Sleep in the Bronx, New York, our sleep medicine expert, Dr. Rajendra M. Rampersaud, offers treatment options for sleep apnea, including dental sleep appliances.

Read on to learn more about dental appliances for sleep apnea, how they work, and if it’s an option for you. 

About sleep apnea

If you have sleep apnea, you stop and restart breathing multiple times while you sleep, affecting blood oxygen levels. This sleep problem, called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), most often occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, blocking the airway. 

Sleep apnea may also occur when there’s a disruption in the signal from the brain to the muscles that control breathing, causing brief pauses in air intake. This type is called central sleep apnea (CSA).

We perform sleep studies to determine your sleep apnea type, which helps direct treatment. 

How dental sleep appliances work

The goal of sleep apnea treatment is to keep the airway open to prevent pauses in breathing and ensure blood oxygen levels remain normal. CPAP uses pressurized air to keep the airway open and provide a continuous oxygen flow. 

Dental sleep appliances readjust the position of the jaw, preventing the tongue or throat from blocking the airway.

Dental sleep appliances are similar to mouthguards for teeth grinding and retainers following orthodontic treatment. Oral dental appliances are custom-made to fit your mouth, making them comfortable, and you only need to wear them while you sleep. 

Getting the right treatment

The best treatment for sleep apnea depends on your sleep apnea type. We recommend dental sleep appliances for people with mild to moderate OSA. Many people find the oral appliance more comfortable than the CPAP mask, improving sleep quality, which is one of the reasons we like the dental sleep appliance.

The dental sleep appliance also helps decrease snoring, so your sleep partner can rest better too. It’s also portable and easy to keep clean. 

However, the dental sleep appliance may not be the best choice if you have severe OSA or CSA. The goal of our sleep apnea treatment plan is to improve your sleep and your health.

Sleep apnea not only affects your sleep but also puts you at risk of developing other health problems like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. We take a comprehensive approach to sleep apnea so you get the best overall outcome.

Are you looking for an alternative to CPAP therapy for your sleep apnea? You can schedule a consultation with our sleep medicine expert to discuss your options. Call our office today or book an appointment online to schedule your evaluation.