Affecting as many as 18 million adults in the United States, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be dangerous due to the effects it has on your breathing. If you suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea, then you may be using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to keep your airway passage open and reduce your risk of more serious complications. But this machine is cumbersome and uncomfortable, and it makes getting a good night’s rest difficult.
If you’re having a hard time with your CPAP, it may be time to consider other options. At Greenway Dental Group in Greenbelt, Maryland, we can create a custom oral appliance that fits comfortably over your teeth to open your airway so you no longer need to use your CPAP.
Not breathing for any length of time is scary for you and your loved ones. Imagine not being aware that you stopped breathing because you’re “sleeping” through it. Well, that’s essentially what happens with sleep apnea — you stop breathing periodically while you sleep. There are two primary types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of the sleep disorder. With this type of apnea, you stop breathing because the muscles in your throat relax, closing off the passageway.
With central sleep apnea, your brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control your breathing, causing you to stop.
Some people have both types of sleep apnea.
Some people may be able to improve their sleep apnea by losing weight, quitting smoking, or using allergy medications. But if your sleep apnea is severe, you may need to do more than make a few lifestyle changes to improve nighttime breathing.
The primary treatment for more serious cases of sleep apnea is the CPAP machine, which delivers air at a pressure greater than room air to keep your airway passage open. Unfortunately, the CPAP machine requires that you wear a mask that goes over your nose and around your head. You’re not alone if you find your CPAP mask bulky and difficult to wear.
There are other airway pressure devices, but like the CPAP, you also need to wear a mask. Fortunately, those aren’t your only options for keeping your airway open.
The oral appliance we offer for sleep apnea is a cross between the mouthguard you might wear if you grind your teeth and the retainer you wore after your braces were removed. The lower arch oral appliance we use here at Greenway Dental Group works by pushing your jaw and tongue forward to minimize risk of obstruction in your throat.
And like the CPAP machine, our oral appliance also resolves your snoring, which will make your sleeping partner very happy. Not only is the oral appliance we offer more comfortable than your CPAP mask and machine, but it’s also much easier to clean and store and can easily go with you when you have a trip out of town.
We can determine if the oral appliance is a good treatment for your sleep apnea during a consultation, which includes an evaluation of your mouth and airway passage, an X-ray, and a look at your sleep study. If we think the oral appliance makes a good match, we take a mold of your teeth and design a customized mouthguard that fits your teeth comfortably and adjusts your jaw for better breathing while you sleep.
When it comes to managing sleep apnea, the CPAP machine isn’t your only option. With an oral appliance, we can improve your nighttime breathing without any unnecessary discomfort or headgear. Call us at Greenway Dental Group today or request an appointment online.