Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece
There are many treatments for sleep apnea and it is up to a doctor to decide which one is right for a patient. This condition is sometimes treated with oral appliance therapy. Basically, it involves sleeping with a sleep apnea mouthpiece in order to alleviate the symptoms of obstructive apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the airways get obstructed by the tongue and other soft tissues while sleeping. Some of the symptoms are usually snoring, gasping during sleep, a dry mouth and waking up with a sore throat.
What’s a sleep apnea mouthpiece?
A sleep apnea mouthpiece, which is also used on people who snore, is a good treatment for someone who experiences mild to moderate symptoms. It fits in the mouth and keeps the tongue and the soft tissues from obstructing your airways at night. The two devices commonly used are:
- Mandibular advancement appliance - This one pushes the lower jaw and tongue forward which helps keep the airways open.
- Tongue retainer – It keeps the tongue in a forward position and helps keep the airways open.
Side effects and discomfort
As with most things, there are a couple of side effects with the wearing of a mouthpiece and jaw discomfort is the main one. The oral appliance can sometimes be placed in hot water prior to wearing it in order to allow it to soften and mould to the mouth.
Another discomfort for some people is the reflex for gagging. However, this often subsides early on. Most people realize quite soon that the benefits of a mouthpiece outweigh initial discomforts.
Where to get a sleep apnea mouthpiece?
While some mouthpieces are cheaply available over the counter, they might not be the best solution for everyone. They are generally not very comfortable since they are modeled to fit everyone’s mouth and everyone has a very different mouth.
Instead, the most effective and comfortable ones will be modeled specifically after the mouth of an individual. This requires the skills of a specialist, usually a doctor or an orthodontist.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that can be contained with appropriate treatments. See your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms. While this disorder is mild for some people, for others it can have deadly consequence.