Sleep Apnea

The 3 Most Popular Mouth Devices for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea affects millions of people every year. Currently, around 25% of the American population is diagnosed with sleep apnea. It’s so popular that innovators have come up with a ton of ways to help. Using mouth devices for sleep apnea treatment is quickly growing in popularity. The symptoms associated with this sleep disorder cause unpleasant side-effects, and no one wants to go through life like that.   

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Sleep apnea can cause a variety of “scary” side-effects and diseases, but let’s look at the big two: snoring and fatigue. Mouth appliances are effective in getting rid of these popular side-effects. When they’re FDA regulated and designed with apnea in mind, they can help you feel 100% better. Different devices work for different people. Today we’re going to be covering the 3 most popular mouth devices for sleep apnea. After reading, you will be better equipped to decide which one is right for you.  

CPAP  

The CPAP is by far one of the most notorious when it comes to sleep apnea relief. When most people think of apnea, they connect the disorder to the CPAP machine. The CPAP operates with a simple concept in mind: to allow you to sleep better by blowing a steady stream of gentle air into your mouth and nose. The CPAP machine is pretty small and it plugs right into your wall. You use it by placing the mask over your nose and mouth and turning it on every single night before bed. When used correctly, it should prevent you from interrupted breathing.   

While the CPAP machine can be effective, it’s also inconvenient for some. Here are some common complaints:  

  • Stomach issues  
  • Congestion  
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Feeling claustrophobic or confined while sleeping  
  • Sores inside the lining of your mouth  
  • Reports have been made about chest pain while using  
  • It isn’t ideal for sensitive skin  
  • Irritation for your partner or pets  
  • It is unpleasant if you have a cold or sinusitis  
  • Requires regular cleaning   
  • It’s uncomfortable  

Some people don’t experience any of this. It can be very useful. It is not, however, the least-invasive form of treatment. The following mouth devices for sleep apnea treatment are quickly growing in popularity.

Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)  

Sleep apnea isn’t just caused by bad health. While it is often associated with diabetes and poor diet, other factors come into play. Sometimes it’s genetics. Sometimes it has to do with the alignment of your jaw or the size of your airway. Mouthguards will prevent snoring and help to open the airway. The Mandibular Advancement device is very similar to a mouthguard. The MAD kind of looks like the mouthguards that football players wear to protect their teeth.  

This particular device is pretty bulky. It is meant to snap onto the top and bottom of your teeth. It’s equipped with metal hinges that make your jaw move slightly forward while you sleep. This can open up your airway quite a bit.   

Tongue Retaining Device  

The tongue retaining device can be a little uncomfortable. It’s a “splint” that attaches to the tongue, forcing the airway open while you sleep. It may take a little getting used to, and it may initially cause some irritation. It is usually made from medical-grade materials, especially when purchased from a reliable source. (Remember: only buy mouth appliances that are FDA approved.)  

The retaining device looks a little bit like a tiny octopus. You slip it onto your tongue and the end of it balloons out past your lips. It may look a little silly, but it does the trick. Again, not exactly a “romantic” option, but it may be more comfortable for some people than a CPAP. This device has drawbacks, as well. If not attached properly, it will slip out of the mouth. This renders it ineffective. It can also be a little hard to swallow when wearing a tongue retaining device. This can make it tricky to get a good night’s sleep. On top of that, it collects spit and needs to be cleaned daily. Storage for this device is simple. You place it into a container when you’re finished using it. You do the same thing if you’re using a mandibular advancement device.   

Consistency is Key When Using Mouth Devices for Sleep Apnea

No matter what device you choose to go with, you have to be consistent. These devices work on a night-by-night basis, which means if you skip a night, you’re risking the side-effects of the disorder. Don’t stop using your device right away when you start feeling better. Continue to use it unless directed otherwise by a health care professional.   

Keep in mind that all mouth appliances need to be worn properly. The CPAP, for example, will not work if it is not clipped on just right. If you ever need help with fitting your CPAP on correctly, see your dentist or doctor. The same goes for all of these appliances. If your mouth device feels uncomfortable, you may be wearing it wrong. If you aren’t getting any symptom relief, you may just need to adjust how you’re using your appliances. This is manageable.   

You can buy these devices online. They’re popular. The problem with this is a lack of information and an improper fit. Getting someone to fit you for a device is the best way to stay comfortable at night. When you go to a professional for your device, you know that they’re doing what they can. They work to get rid of the symptoms of your unique sleep apnea. These devices aren’t always a “one-size-fits-all” deal. It’s important that you find something comfortable. After all, you’ll be sleeping with it every night!  

Stay consistent when keeping in touch with your health care provider/dentist. Keep him/her apprised of your progress (or lack thereof). Don’t hesitate to call if your appliance isn’t working or if it’s too uncomfortable to sleep with. Your dentist or doctor will know how to help 

If you have any questions or would like a consultation for mouth devices for sleep apnea, call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 362-7292. 

Do Oral Appliances Work for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is problematic to your health. If you have sleep apnea, you’ll notice the signs. Fatigue, high blood pressure, irritability, and more. Treatment options are effective. The majority of treatment revolves around mouth devices, or “oral appliances”. These open up the airways and allow for easier breathing while sleeping (they do this by holding your tongue in place while you sleep). They also work by pushing or pulling your jaw forward. By controlling the position of the tongue, the jaw will follow suit. 

Using Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

It’s best to start with these kinds of treatments before thinking about advanced treatment options like a surgery. Each oral appliance has its strength. Not all appliances will work for everyone. Some help by targeting the tongue area, others by targeting the nose, and others by targeting the jaw. Sleep apnea is often the result of issues in one of these areas. Here are some of the symptoms that oral appliances relieve: 

  • Exhaustion/Fatigue 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Irritability  
  • Falling asleep anywhere and everywhere 
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Learning difficulties 

Here are some of the conditions that oral appliances can prevent: 

  • Heart attacks 
  • Congestive heart failure 
  • Cardiac arrhythmia 
  • Stroke 
  • Depression 
  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety 

Oral appliances need to be worn every night before bed. Some of them are more comfortable than others. Some are easier to clean and take care of than others. And some are more expensive than others. The most important thing to remember when researching devices is that you should always seek professional advice from a dentist. Dentists can also work to fit the devices to your mouth. You will also need to follow up with your dentist to let him/her know whether or not the device is alleviating your symptoms.  

For most people, oral appliances work very well. Especially when it comes to snoring. These devices can eliminate snoring completely. Other people may need to take more drastic measures, like surgery. The type of sleep apnea you have can also determine what measures need to be taken. Oral appliances typically only work for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Newer studies are even saying that simple oral devices can help those with severe apnea.  

Why People are Choosing Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

People with underlying health conditions like diabetes or heart disease may not benefit from these non-invasive treatment methods. They may need surgical intervention or a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). A CPAP is one of the most common methods used in treating sleep apnea, but it can be quite inconvenient. You need to cover your mouth and nose with a mask, plug in the device, and sleep with a constant flow of air. Many people can’t tolerate it. It’s often uncomfortable, but it has been shown to cause immediate results in patients.  

To get the best therapy possible for you, seeing a specialist is highly recommended. They’ll often prescribe a home sleep study and go over your results with you. After you see a specialist, the dentist is a good place to go. They can help fit your oral appliance.  

When you’ve decided to go the route of an oral appliance, the options may seem overwhelming. It’s hard to choose which appliance is best for you, even with professional recommendations. There is bound to be a little bit of discomfort when you first start wearing your appliance. The discomfort is usually around the jaw or the ears. Rest assured; this should pass over time. Your mouth needs to adjust to a new foreign object. When you take your appliance out in the morning, the discomfort should go away.  

Oral appliances will also cause a slight excess of saliva and some tenderness in your teeth. Again, this is normal. Make sure you mention all side-effects to your dentist. He/she will closely monitor you. If the discomfort doesn’t go away, they’ll suggest another oral appliance for your sleep apnea. No matter where you go for your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with your dentist. You need to be able to go to him/her with any and all concerns. Don’t hold back. The only way to get symptom relief is to get a perfect fit.  

Finding the Right Oral Appliances for Your Sleep Apnea

There are quite a few brands and types of oral devices, but the most common is a mandibular advancement device. Mandibular means lower jaw. This looks very similar to a mouthguard. It attaches to the upper teeth and the lower teeth. It is held together with springs and custom adjustments. The device pushes the tongue and the jaw forward, clearing your airway. When you first try it, it will feel odd to have a foreign object in your mouth all evening. And this is one of the devices we mentioned that may cause a little jaw and tooth discomfort. But if it works, it’s worth it. It is more comfortable than wearing the CPAP mask. It’s also very low-maintenance and easy to clean. If you get it professionally fitted by the people at Sleep Better Columbus, your chances of discomfort are reduced.  

The other popular oral appliance is called a tongue retaining mouthpiece. It looks similar to an adult pacifier, so some find it silly, but it works well. It’s also a little simpler than the mandibular advancement device and the CPAP. Once placed into your mouth, it surrounds the tongue and pulls it forward – away from your throat. In order for it to work, you need to stick your tongue into the slot and keep it there all night. You will get used to it, but it’s quite the adjustment.  

Oral appliances can be much more practical than a CPAP or a surgery. They’re great for people who travel frequently because they’re so portable, and they’re often more cost-effective than surgery or a CPAP. They’re also easier to set up – no wires or filters. If they work for you, they’re a wonderful solution. 

For questions or a consultation regarding oral appliances for sleep apnea, give Sleep Better Columbus a call at (614) 362-7292.

How to Get a Good Night’s Rest with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is the enemy of a good night’s rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have it. People are waking up exhausted, falling asleep at work or at the wheel, and at risk for high blood pressure (or worse). Fortunately, it is possible to get a good night’s sleep with sleep apnea. We’re going to discuss some of the ways you can do that.  

What is Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that prevents people from breathing normally at night. Breath is typically interrupted, meaning you could go around 10 seconds without breathing before you start again. This is usually due to the muscles in the throat contracting when they shouldn’t. The fragmented breathing causes a restless night’s sleep.  

Why Should I Treat my Sleep Apnea? 

If sleep apnea goes untreated, a lot of things can go wrong. The body needs sleep. Sleep helps with the clearing of toxins, the ability to concentrate, and the ability to fight off infections. Here are a few things that sleep apnea can cause if it goes untreated: 

  • Fatigue 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Heart attacks 
  • Congestive heart failure 
  • Cardiac arrhythmia 
  • Stroke 
  • Depression 
  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety 

Knowing this, it’s probably best to look at treatment options as soon as possible. The good news is that there are many, many treatment options. As mentioned earlier, sleep apnea is common. Scientists have worked long and hard at finding ways for people to live with this and for people to be cured from this. Many treatments will allow you to lead a perfectly normally life with sleep apnea.  

What Kind of Treatment Should I Start With? 

If you’ve been properly diagnosed with sleep apnea by a professional (don’t diagnose yourself!) it’s time to start looking at ways to live with this. Any health professional will recommend two things to start with: proper diet and exercise.  

In order for you to heal from anything, your body needs to be strong enough to fight it off. It won’t be able to do that if it isn’t being treated properly. A diet low in saturated fats and high in whole grains will aid with weight loss. Getting healthy will also help with your energy levels and your ability to fight sleep apnea. Obesity is not only a symptom of sleep apnea – it’s a cause.  

Alongside proper diet and exercise, oral appliances are largely popular in the sleep apnea community. Let’s take some time to discuss those.  

What is a CPAP? 

The CPAP is a device constructed to aid in your air flow while you’re sleeping. It is plugged into a wall. You use it by placing a mask over your nose and mouth before bed each night. While you’re sleeping, it works to gently blow air through your nose and mouth, giving you a steady stream of oxygen while you sleep. It has helped millions of people in managing their sleep apnea. If used properly, the CPAP machine should allow you to wake up feeling refreshed. It should help in eliminating all symptoms of sleep apnea 

Unfortunately, many people don’t use it properly. It can be difficult to place the mask in the “perfect” position, and even if you do, it can slip around if you’re an aggressive sleeper. There are other downsides to using a CPAP. For example, it can be hard on your partner. The machine can be quite noisy, disrupting the sleep of the people around you. The CPAP isn’t very “romantic”, either. Forget leaning over to kiss your partner. They’d be met with a large plastic mask in their face. Another thing about the CPAP is that it isn’t always tolerated very well. It can rub against sensitive skin causing eczema outbreaks, or it can be too uncomfortable to sleep with. This is why the CPAP isn’t always the first thing that is recommended in the treatment of sleep apnea.  

What are Alternative Oral Appliances?  

Thankfully, there are other options for handling sleep apnea. One of the most popular solutions is the use of oral appliances other than the CPAP. Oftentimes, sleep apnea can be caused by a misaligned jaw, a small jaw, small upper airways, or a recessed chin. Simple oral appliances can help people get a good night’s sleep and enough oxygen. 

Some of the most common oral appliances are mouth guards. Mouth guards can be custom-fitted to be comfortable. Good oral appliances are usually the ones that you don’t notice while you’re sleeping. The only types of oral appliances that should be used are the ones that are created by dentists. It is always best to know where your appliances are coming from. Finding a place like Sleep Better Columbus with a caring and educated staff is your best bet. It is also important that all of the devices you choose to use are registered with the FDA. As long as you follow these guidelines, you can’t go wrong.  

After trying non-invasive approaches like mouth guards, you may see a significant decrease or elimination in your sleep apnea symptoms. This is the goal. Don’t settle for less than that. Remember that millions of people around the world suffer from sleep apnea, and they lead perfectly normal lives. As long as you’re diligent about wearing your mouth pieces and getting them from a qualified source, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be symptom-free.  

The Importance of Seeing a Specialist

Remember that as you’re going into this looking for treatment, you should always be looking to professionals for advice. Trying to fix it yourself (or even diagnosing yourself) won’t guarantee real help. It’s also best to only take sleep apnea tests administered by professionals rather than buying yourself one online (from an unreliable source). Most medical care professionals will either recommend an at-home sleep apnea test or they’ll ask you to spend the night being monitored in a medical facility. Both types of tests are perfectly safe and pain-free. 

Call Better Sleep Columbus at (614) 362-7292 to learn how to sleep with sleep apnea and discuss your options with a qualified professional. 

 

What is Sleep Apnea?

Snoring is extremely common among adults. Half of people snore at least some point in their lives. Statistics show that around 25% of people snore habitually. Maybe you have a partner that’s keeping you up at night, or maybe you snore and you don’t even know it! Snoring is so common that people often overlook the fact that it’s not a healthy sign. Despite popular belief, snoring doesn’t mean you’re sleeping deeply. It is often a sign of a problem. 

There are several sleep conditions associated with snoring, but one of the biggest is a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is categorized as a sleep disorder, and it involves the throat. When a person has sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of the throat don’t do a great job at keep the airway open. This doesn’t make for the best night’s sleep. Oftentimes, a person will stop breathing for up to 10 seconds while the throat is closing up. This leads to issues with blood pressure and it leads to a terrible night’s sleep. If you snore and you wake up exhausted every morning, you might have it.  

If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea, it’s good to be seen for it. The sooner you can get it diagnosed, the sooner you can work on eliminating it. If you are diagnosed, it’s no time to panic. The National Sleep Foundation says that more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea – and that isn’t even including all of the other countries! It is extremely common. And the good news? It is completely curable. 

What Causes Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep apnea can occur for several reasons in many different types of people. No one is excluded from getting sleep apnea, but certain groups of people do have a higher risk of getting it. Certain risk factors for sleep apnea include (but are not limited to): 

  • Small upper airways 
  • Obesity 
  • Diabetes 
  • Family history  
  • A small jaw 
  • A recessed chin 
  • Smoking 
  • Excessive alcohol use 
  • Age (40 and over) 
  • Ethnicity (Hispanics, African-Americans, and Pacific Islanders have a higher risk) 

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea? 

As we’ve discussed, snoring is usually the tell-tale symptom of sleep apnea. But did you know that there are other symptoms to look out for? Some of these symptoms include: 

  • Exhaustion/Fatigue 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Irritability  
  • Falling asleep anywhere (like at work!) 
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Learning difficulties  

How is Sleep Apnea Treated? 

Once you are properly diagnosed (make sure you see a professional – don’t diagnose yourself!) it is time to take action. Sleep apnea doesn’t go away on its own. Dietary changes or medical interventions are needed if you want more energy and better sleep. When you’re presented with your options, it can be overwhelming. Every medical professional will have their own opinion, and it can be difficult to choose what you want your next steps to be. First, let’s take a look at the options that will be presented to you.  

Lifestyle changes.

The most common change you will be asked to make is with your lifestyle. People often have sleep apnea due to an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise. After a certain age, losing weight becomes much more difficult. There are quite a few options to look at when trying to lose weight. If you haven’t started with your diet and mobility, you will be asked to do that first.  

Sleep apnea diets can be a large change for some people. Certain foods need to be avoided, and other foods need to be consumed much more frequently. A diet high that’s high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is essential, and the avoidance of heavy, greasy foods is also highly recommended. Alcohol needs to be completely cut out of your diet if you want to lose weight and feel healthy. Foods high in saturated fats often lead to obesity, so you’ll need to cut out things like red meat and fast food. Quitting smoking will also come highly recommended. 

You’ll also be asked to exercise at least 30 minutes per day. This can be anything from taking a walk each day to doing high-intensity cardio. You should always start small, especially if you’ve been sedentary. Nothing deters an exercise routine like going “all in” immediately, only to disappoint yourself and quit. Start small and gradually increase your cardio at your own pace until you’re comfortable.  

If you have given diet and exercise a real try but it isn’t curing your sleep apnea, other measures will be taken.  

A CPAP. 

CPAP machines are extremely popular for the sleep apnea population. It’s essentially a mask that you wear at bedtime every single night. It covers your nose and mouth and gently pushes air through a tube so that you get a steady source of oxygen throughout the night. These work wonderfully for some people. For others, they’re a great challenge. For one thing, they’re not exactly easy on your partner. They’re often quite loud. They’re also uncomfortable and they limit your sleeping positions. People with sensitive skin may also have problems with a CPAP, as it can be aggressive around the nose and mouth area.  

Oral appliances. 

Oral appliances are often preferable to the CPAP because they’re less invasive. Dental devices can help with the positioning of your jaw when you’re sleeping, allowing more air to flow through your throat. These kinds of options can be wonderful for people who don’t tolerate the CPAP or who don’t want to try the CPAP. Not only are they less invasive, they’re also much easier to use. Oral appliances like the ones at Sleep Better Columbus (614-362-7292) could greatly reduce or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea and improve the quality of your life 

You’ll certainly have your pick when it comes to sleep apnea interventions. You’re not going to have to try anything you’re uncomfortable with. Sleep apnea can be a little scary. The good news is that with proper care, you’ll be just fine.  

Call Sleep Better Columbus at 614-362-7292 for a free consultation and friendly options.  

 

Solutions for Snoring Issues

If you snore, or have a partner who has snoring issues, then you are aware of the sleepless nights that can occur as a result. Snoring isn’t much of a problem if it only happens on occasion, but it can be a warning sign of a more serious condition, so if it happens on a frequent basis, it’s probably a good idea to get to the root of the problem.

What Causes Snoring in the First Place?

Basically, snoring occurs when there is a blockage of air through the mouth and nose. While it can occur in any age and gender, it tends to occur more in men and people who are overweight. There are many different underlying causes of snoring, some that also affect one’s ability to breathe properly during sleep. When this occurs, snoring can go from a mild annoyance to a serious issue than can be quite debilitating. Below are a few of the underlying reasons that snoring issues might occur.

  • Sleeping position: The position in which one sleeps can also contribute to snoring. For instance, sleeping on the back is commonly associated with snoring.
  • Alcohol or drugs: Using alcohol or drugs, such as muscle relaxers, can also cause snoring, by making the muscles in the throat and tongue relax too much.
  • Blocked nasal airway: There are several reasons that nasal airways might be blocked. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a cold or allergy. Other times, it could be something like a deviated septum or nasal polyps.
  • Long uvula or soft palate: The dangling tissue in the back of the mouth, called the uvula, or a long soft palate can narrow the passageway from the nose to the throat. When this happens, breathing can cause them to vibrate against each other and the airway can become blocked.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: This can be caused by several different things, but often occurs when soft muscle tissues relax during sleep. Frequently, this is associated with being overweight, but is not always the case.

What Can I Do About My Snoring Issues?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the snoring issues. For instance, sometimes lifestyle changes can help. Doctors may suggest that patients  try sleeping in a different position or reduce the amount of alcohol consumed, especially at night. If a cold or allergy is the culprit, medication might be prescribed. Sometimes, even surgery might be an option, especially if an elongated uvula or soft palate is the culprit. Of course, if the cause is sleep apnea, many other options might be considered, from a CPAP machine to an oral appliance that might be prescribed and fitted by your dentist.

Is Snoring Really That Serious?

The short answer is yes! Snoring may seem like a minor nuisance, but it can be quite serious indeed. A minor cold or allergy will pass,  but if the snorer has something like sleep apnea as the underlying cause of their snoring issues, it can present many debilitating health concerns that must be addressed.

In severe cases, obstructive sleep apnea can cause a person to stop breathing up to hundreds of times per night. Episodes can last from a few seconds to a minute or longer, usually accompanied by choking, gasping, and, of course, snoring. As mentioned previously, this can contribute to many serious health concerns, including decreased cardiovascular health, increased stress hormones, and hypertension. It can also contribute to weight gain, poor concentration, and diabetes. A good night’s sleep is fundamental to good health!

What About Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Devices?

CPAP devices are one of the more common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. It works by blowing pressurized air through a tube that connects at one end to a machine. The other end of the tube is connected to a mask worn by the patient. The pressurized air keeps the airway open during sleep. While this is generally an effective option, not everyone can tolerate CPAP or afford it, especially if insurance doesn’t cover it.

Is Oral Appliance Therapy an Option?

Another option to treat snoring issues is oral appliance therapy. This is especially useful for those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The user wears the oral appliance during sleep. It’s somewhat similar to a sports mouth guard used. They work by supporting the jaw in a forward position and keeping the airway open during sleep. More and more people are giving oral appliance therapy a try. More insurance companies are covering the treatment option and it is less costly then CPAP. It is also less risky than surgery and requires no recovery time.

How Do I Know if Oral Appliance Therapy is Right for Me?

To determine if oral appliance therapy is the right treatment option for your snoring issues, the first step is to consult with a dentist specializing in the treatment of sleep apnea. You can ask your family dentist or even your physician for a referral if you don’t already know of a specialist in your area. You might also want to check with your insurance company to see if this visit will be covered and if you need a referral from your physician first.

When you see the specialist, they will complete a full evaluation to determine if an oral appliance will work for your needs. If they believe this type of treatment is appropriate, they will make sure your mouth and joints are healthy enough to support an oral appliance and will determine which type of appliance will best solve your snoring issues.

Seek Help for Your Snoring Issues

Good sleep is one of the fundamental components of good health. If you are experiencing snoring issues, consider investigating treatment options right away. If you’d like to learn more about using an oral appliance to treat your snoring issues, please contact Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 362-7292 today. Our experienced staff can provide a full evaluation as well as all the information you will need to make the best decision for your treatment needs.

Call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 362-7292 to learn more about treating your snoring issues with oral appliances.

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