Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece

Sleep apnea is a real health issue for the sufferer; not to mention its trickle-down effects to those who have to share a bed with him or her. Witnessing sleep apnea in action can be distressing because the patient may breathe erratically, make lots of noise, or stop breathing temporarily altogether.

For the patient, the results of a night spent dealing with sleep apnea come during the awake period when tiredness, depression and lack of concentration can be issues. A sleep apnea mouthpiece can help to alleviate these symptoms and more, while allowing your bed partner to relax a little too.

Also known as an oral appliance, a sleep apnea mouthpiece is also recommended for loud snorers. Whether for snoring or apnea, it can help to reduce the discomfort and give everyone a better nights sleep.

How it works

The aim of a sleep apnea mouthpiece is to adjust the patients lower jaw and tongue so that the throats airways are kept open during sleep. Thus, air can flow into the lungs consistently and without interruption. The mouthpiece is made of plastic and the patient wears it in the mouth during sleep.

What it does is prevents the soft tissues of the throat from collapsing and blocking the airway to the lungs. The mouthpiece gently moves the patients lower jaw forward and helps to elevate the soft palate.

Cost

Sleep apnea mouthpieces are custom-made to fit the patient. Dentists and orthodontists are responsible for making them and although they can be expensive, they are usually covered by insurance. Also, when compared to the loss of work, productivity and general sense of wellbeing experienced when not treating sleep apnea, the cost of a mouthpiece can be irrelevant.

Many patients report that they would spend whatever it takes to guarantee a good nights sleep on a consistent basis. Some mouthpieces cost what amounts to around $1 per night … affordable indeed to ensure effective sleep, without the use of drugs which can be expensive as well.

Mouthpiece versus CPAP apparatus

In mild cases of sleep apnea, mouthpieces can be used to great effect. If the condition is more severe, however, then CPAP apparatus might be required. This is far more cumbersome because it involves wearing a night-time mask to bed, which is connected to an electrically-powered machine. The hope with using a mouthpiece is that it will be sufficient enough to provide the patient with effective sleep and that CPAP wont be required.

Side effects

As with most medications and treatments, sleep apnea mouthpieces are not without side effects. Whats important is to weigh the side effects with the relief that would be achieved and determine the right course of action.

Sleep apnea mouthpieces can cause damage to the patients teeth, jaw and gums as well as gradually and permanently altering the positioning of the jaw. Some patients even report excess salivation as a result of wearing theirs to bed.

A Swiss study concluded that sleep apnea mouthpieces provide an effective treatment. The study reported that patients found the mouthpieces only ‘mildly disturbing and that 86% experienced mucosal dryness, 59% suffered tooth discomfort and 55% were bothered by excessive salivation. Overall, it appears that while the side effects may have outweighed the benefits, the side effects themselves were not too troubling for the patients.

Sleep deprivation whether realized at the time or not weighs heavily on the mental and physical wellbeing of sufferers.

Anyone who does not suffer from sleep deprivation, whether it be due to sleep apnea, jet lag or night feeds for a newborn, will find it difficult to understand the suffering experienced by someone who is not getting enough sleep. A sleep apnea mouthpiece can be the answer to a patients prayers … and bring them sweet dreams.