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Pros and cons of sleep apnea dental devices

By Modern60, Editorial Team

Last Updated on April 2nd, 2024

Senior Health & Wellness

Pros and cons of sleep apnea dental devices

Health experts unanimously agree that quality sleep for at least seven hours is necessary for the body and mind. When sleep eludes one for prolonged periods, it becomes necessary to recognize the issue, get a prompt diagnosis, and manage the condition early. Sleep apnea is characterized by obstructed breathing, which might make one snore loudly and feel exhausted. Fortunately, treatment options for sleep apnea, such as dental devices, can help manage its symptoms.

Symptoms of sleep apnea
Here are a few symptoms of sleep apnea one should know about:

1. Changes in breathing patterns

Changes in breathing patterns
Source: Pexels

People with central sleep apnea may develop Cheyne-Stokes breathing. It is a condition in which one’s breathing suddenly becomes deeper than usual for a short time and returns to being shallow again until breathing stops completely for a few seconds. Then, this process is repeated.

2. Onset of depression and anxiety

Onset of depression and anxiety
Source: Pexels

In a study, 46% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea had depression symptoms, while 53% had anxiety. So, depression and anxiety are common among those with sleep apnea.

3. Disturbed sleep

Disturbed sleep
Source: Pexels

People with sleep apnea experience highly disturbed sleep because their breathing is constantly blocked.

4. Loud snoring

Loud snoring
Source: Pexels

Sleep apnea patients may snore quite loudly because of disrupted breathing.

Dental appliances for sleep apnea

Essentially, tissues at the back of the throat temporarily block the airways, causing breathing to pause. Dental appliances or oral devices for sleep apnea, such as mouthpieces or mouthguards, are excellent options to manage the condition as they reposition the tongue or jaw so that the airway opens up and breathing is not blocked.

Generally, doctors suggest positive airway pressure (PAP), wherein a small machine beside the bed blows air into the lungs through a mask to relieve sleep apnea symptoms. However, doctors may recommend dental devices for moderate or advanced sleep apnea cases.

Pros of dental appliances for sleep apnea

Here is why dental appliances can help those with sleep apnea:

1. Reduced snoring

Dental appliances close the mouth when one is asleep so that only the nasal passage is engaged. This helps reduce snoring considerably among those with sleep apnea.

2. Not intrusive

Since sleep apnea dental devices are installed externally, they are non-intrusive. They can be worn and removed easily after one wakes up.

3. Improved sleep quality

Dental appliances considerably enhance one’s sleep quality by physically preventing obstruction while breathing. This helps improve one’s overall health.

4. No claustrophobia or skin irritation

PAP masks are worn over the nose and mouth, which can irritate the skin and sometimes make some people feel claustrophobic. However, those who use dental appliances don’t face these issues.

5. Cost-effective

Dental devices are usually lighter on the pocket than PAP, so many prefer them to treat sleep apnea.

Cons and risks of dental appliances for sleep apnea

Here are a few disadvantages and risks one should know about dental appliances:

1. Bite changes

Bite changes, which reflect noticeable changes in the alignment of teeth or smile, are common with dental appliances. However, these happen less if one reads the guidelines carefully and puts the device on precisely as per what’s written on the label. So, one should follow the instructions correctly when using dental devices for sleep apnea.

2. Increased pressure on the jaw

Dental devices for sleep apnea push the jaw forward, exerting too much pressure on the jaw point. So, if one already has structural issues with the jaw, they should consult the doctor before using a dental appliance.

3. Less effective than PAP

While dental devices are more comfortable than PAP, they may be less effective in reducing sleep apnea symptoms if the condition is severe. In these cases, it is best to opt for PAP.

Tips to maintain oral devices for sleep apnea

Here are a few tips that can help individuals maintain their oral devices:

1. Clean the device with toothpaste

The best way to clean a sleep apnea dental device is with toothpaste. It should be brushed well before and after every use.

2. Avoid using abrasive agents

All abrasive cleaning products, including baking soda, whiteners, and peroxide, should be strictly avoided, as they can damage the oral device.

3. Store the device in a clean, cool, and dry place

The location where the dental device is stored plays an essential role in its maintenance. It should be stored in a spot away from direct sunlight. Moreover, clean this area frequently so that dust does not accumulate on the device’s surface.

Apart from using dental devices as instructed by a doctor, people with sleep apnea should maintain a healthy lifestyle to maximize the benefits of these devices. A balanced meal plan rich in protein, healthy fiber, carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins, and minerals is the way to go. Moreover, one should stay physically active and avoid processed and deep-fried foods.

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Editorial Team

The Editorial Team at Modern60 is a group of highly skilled professionals with diverse backgrounds in journalism, content creation, editing, and digital media. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to ensure that every piece of content meets our strict editorial guidelines and quality standards. The team is dedicated to delivering accurate, well-researched, and engaging content across various subjects, including health, wellness, lifestyle, and current events. With their commitment to upholding the highest standards of journalism and content creation, the Modern60 Editorial Team is the driving force behind our mission to empower and inspire our readers.

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