Why we Prefer Oral Appliances to Treat Sleep Apnea

oral appliances

oral appliancesSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

Are you one of the millions of Americans who has been diagnosed with a sleep breathing disorder? If so, you probably have looked into CPAP as a method of treatment. You may already have a CPAP machine that you use every night. You may think CPAP is your only option to have an uninterrupted night of sleep, but the sleep apnea dentists at Glen Park Dental want you to know that there is another, more convenient option to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Read on to see why we prefer to use custom-made oral appliances when treating sleep apnea.

CPAP is not for everyone

Although many medical practitioners consider it the go-to method of sleep apnea treatment, many patients struggle with long-term use of a CPAP machine. In fact, a study published by Dr. Terri Weaver in 2019 found that as many as 83 percent of CPAP patients were non-adherent—meaning they actually used their CPAP for fewer than four hours per night.

CPAP involves wearing a mask at night that is attached to a machine that maintains a continuous flow of air to your lungs while you sleep. When worn, this constant airflow prevents the airway collapses or blockages that cause sleep apnea. While it works, users have several complaints about using their machine. Common complaints of CPAP users include general discomfort, experiencing skin irritation and rashes from wearing the mask, dry mouth, and trouble sleeping because of the noise emitted by the machine. Patients also become non-compliant with using their CPAP because they feel it hinders intimacy or that using the machine is embarrassing. It also can be cumbersome when traveling or inconvenient to maintain the machine.

How does oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea work?

This entails prescribing the patient with a custom-made mouthpiece that is worn when you sleep. Made to fit your own specific mouth, this oral appliance exerts gentle pressure to guide the lower jaw forward just enough to open the airway.

An oral appliance provided by your Bay Area dentist might look and feel just like the anti-snoring mouthpieces you see at your local pharmacy or big-box store. However, the oral appliances at Glen Park Dental are made from higher-quality materials than any store-bought mouth guard. Each appliance also is made from the unique impressions of your teeth and mouth, guaranteeing the most effective and comfortable fit possible.

Treating sleep apnea is important

Sleep breathing disorders affect more than 22 million Americans, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. In many cases, sleep apnea goes unidentified or untreated, which is the worst possible outcome for your health. Living with untreated sleep apnea disrupts your sleep cycle and lowers oxygen levels in the blood. Your performance at work or school will suffer, and you will feel fatigued during the day no matter how early you go to bed. Over time, living with untreated sleep apnea raises your risk of potentially fatal chronic ailments such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease, obesity, and even certain forms of cancer. Some studies have even linked untreated sleep apnea to cognitive decline or an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sleep apnea screening in San Francisco

The dental professionals at Glen Park Dental include several practitioners trained to screen for sleep apnea in adults and children, giving them the specialized skills to identify potential issues related to the airway and then help provide treatment. You deserve a good night’s sleep. We’re waiting to help. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea or think you’re suffering from a sleep breathing disorder, call us at (415) 585-1500
to schedule a consultation if you’re located in the areas of Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California.