If you find yourself saying “I hate my CPAP machine!” because it’s preventing you from feeling relaxed and getting to sleep, you’re not alone. Many patients find that treating their sleep apnea with these invasive, uncomfortable machines causes just as much trouble as the disorder itself! Thankfully, CPAP machines aren’t the only technology used to treat sleep apnea anymore. Find out how a small custom oral appliance from your Tyler dentist can help you reclaim your good night’s sleep!
What Is an Oral Appliance & How Does It Work?
Oral appliances are an ideal solution for patients with sleep apnea who have a difficult time tolerating a CPAP machine. Instead of using cumbersome face mask attached to a machine, these convenient devices are silent, freestanding, and comfortable to wear. In fact, they look and act very similar to a nightguard or sports mouthguard.
When worn, the oral appliance slightly shifts the lower jaw forward into a comfortable position. This helps keep the airways open as the muscles in the back of your throat relax during sleep. 90% of patients who wear their oral appliance consistently find that this simple repositioning noticeably improves their quality of sleep!
How is an Oral Appliance from My Dentist Different Than a Store Bought One?
There are plenty of over-the-counter oral appliances for sleep apnea available for purchase online or at your local pharmacy. However, while they may seem convenient and cost-effective, they often can’t provide the same results as a custom-made appliance from your dentist, which offers:
- Better fit for better results: Store-bought products typically rely on boil-and-bite fitting methods, which can easily lead to an improperly fitting appliance that causes jaw pain and damage. Not only are custom-made appliances safer and more comfortable, but studies have demonstrated that they’re more effective as well.
- Safe adjustability: Custom-made oral appliances can be adjusted over time to keep their fit, typically by one millimeter at a time. Over-the-counter products usually don’t have this feature or can potentially advance the jaw too quickly, which can be very painful.
- Lasting durability: While store-bought appliances may only last a year before needing to be replaced, a custom-made appliance can last up to five years.
How Do I Get an Oral Appliance?
If you don’t have one already, you’ll first need to get a sleep apnea diagnosis from your doctor or sleep specialist. However, if you’re unhappy with your CPAP machine, it’s likely you’ve already completed this step! Next, call your Tyler dentist to schedule a sleep apnea therapy consultation. They’ll review your complaints about your CPAP machine as well as your medical history to ensure that you’re a good candidate for a custom oral appliance. Then, after answering all your questions, taking some impressions, and having your custom application created, you’ll be ready to sleep soundly once without a cumbersome CPAP machine!
Remember, untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health concerns like high blood pressure, mental health issues, and memory loss. If you’re ready to replace your CPAP machine with a small, convenient oral appliance, call your Tyler dentist today!
About the Author
For over four decades, Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury has been caring for the smiles of Tyler, TX and the surrounding communities. Thanks to his continuing education and active memberships in prestigious dental organizations, he is proud to offer his patients a wide variety of services to improve their smiles and quality of life. Additionally, he is also happy to provide custom-made oral appliances for his patients that are struggling with sleep apnea or their CPAP machine. If you’d like to learn more, he can be contacted via his website or at (903) 561-1122.