Comfortable Sleep Apnea Solutions
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you’re not alone. It’s a common sleep disorder that affects approximately 22 million Americans, with 80 percent of moderate and severe cases undiagnosed.
Learn about the importance of treating sleep apnea and the effectiveness of oral appliances.
How Important is it to Treat Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that occurs when the soft tissues around your throat relax, resulting in a blockage in your airway. This causes your breathing to repeatedly stop and start throughout the night.
If left untreated, sleep apnea is disruptive and can negatively affect both your relationships and overall health. The condition can lead to major health problems including:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
The most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure machine, or CPAP therapy. It’s a machine that works by delivering steady air pressure through a tube connected to a mask that’s worn while you sleep. Though it can be effective, most patients stop using their CPAP because it’s loud, restrictive, awkward, and uncomfortable.
An oral appliance is an affordable, more convenient option for patients seeking an alternative to CPAP. In fact, it’s preferred by many patients over other treatments for sleep apnea. Oral appliances are small, quiet, discreet, and simple to use.
How are oral appliances made and fitted?
Oral appliances are customized using digital or physical impressions of your teeth. These models will be sent to a laboratory where oral appliances are made. Once the oral appliance is ready, you’ll return to our Gig Harbor office for a fitting. Dr. Iregui will adjust the appliance for maximum comfort and effectiveness. She’ll also teach you how to properly clean and maintain your oral appliance.
How Effective are Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea?
When used correctly, oral appliance therapy can be a very effective method for treating sleep apnea, snoring, and TMJ-related problems. An oral appliance is a small, custom-made device that works by gently shifting your jaw forward. This keeps the airway open while you sleep, allowing you and your partner to get the quality sleep you need.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) approved oral appliance therapy as an effective treatment for sleep apnea, and more than 100 oral appliances have received FDA clearance. Studies have shown that after about three months of oral appliance therapy, most patients will be up to 90 percent symptom-free.
Do oral appliances work for severe sleep apnea?
An oral appliance will usually improve your sleep apnea, but it may not completely control it. If you suffer from moderate or severe sleep apnea, CPAP is more likely better in controlling your sleep disorder symptoms than an oral appliance. However, an oral appliance may be a better treatment option than no treatment at all if you cannot tolerate CPAP.
If you’re wondering if an oral appliance will be the most effective treatment option for you, talk to Dr. Iregui. At your consultation, she’ll discuss your sleep apnea symptoms with you and inform you of the best option for combatting your sleep disorder.
How long does an oral appliance last?
Oral appliances aren’t designed to last forever. Many are only effective for about a year or two before the materials weaken and the appliance loses efficacy. If you choose an oral device for sleep apnea treatment, you’ll need to replace it regularly.
Get the Care You Need With Dr. Iregui
If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, contact our highly skilled team at SoundBridge Dental Sleep Therapy by calling (253) 204-2643. We’ll schedule an appointment with Dr. Iregui as soon as possible so we can help determine a treatment that works best for you.