How Do Sleep Apnea Mouthpieces Work?

Sep 01, 2023
How Do Sleep Apnea Mouthpieces Work?
Sleeping problems can affect your overall health, and sleep apnea is a condition that can make it impossible to get a good night’s rest. Sleep apnea mouthpieces are oral devices that can help you get better rest, and here’s how they work.

While we are not entirely certain why we sleep, it is a necessary part of our daily routine, gives us a vital source of rest, and helps our overall well-being. And while the amount of sleep you need to stay healthy changes as you age, it is never lower than seven hours, and millions of people don’t manage to achieve that much per evening. Lack of proper rest can lead to a multitude of problems during your waking life, including impaired memory, irritability, lack of energy for normal activities, and impaired function while driving, which can lead to accidents and physical harm.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that directly affects how much rest you get nightly, and it can lead to many of the symptoms mentioned above and lead to other health problems in the future. To help cope with this problem and get better sleep, specialized mouth guards can be used to reduce symptoms. Let’s find out more about this device by examining what sleep apnea is, and how these mouthpieces help.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and you’re struggling with sleep apnea, Dr. Alecia Hardy and her experienced staff at Frisco Dental Implant Center in Frisco, Texas, can help.

Understanding sleep apnea

This disorder interrupts your slumber by causing you to stop breathing for short periods of time during your sleep cycle. Your brain attempts to wake you so you can breathe, and this prevents you from going through the natural stages (light, deeper, short wave, and REM) of sleep. Apnea is a term that indicates a lack of airflow when sleeping, and it can happen in one of a few ways:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): the form of the condition most people get, this is the result of the tissue in your head and neck pressing on your windpipe, obstructing airflow
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA): this is when your brain doesn’t send the proper signals to your breathing muscles while you sleep
  • Complex sleep apnea: this is a mixed condition where your have components of both of the other types of apnea

How mouthpieces work to treat it

Since obstructive sleep apnea is the most common problem (between 10-30% of adults struggle with it), sleep apnea oral appliances work by keeping the airways open while sleeping. Unlike mouthguards you use in sports or to keep you from grinding your teeth during rest, these devices are designed to deal with structural problems that can cause sleep apnea by supporting a smaller jaw or keeping your tongue from falling in the back of your throat.

There are different types of mouthpieces that work in different ways, such as:

Mandibular advancement devices (MADs)

This works by moving the lower jaw into a forward position, and can be made in a one-piece or two-piece design, depending on your individual needs.

Tongue-retaining devices (TRDs)

This looks similar to a pacifier, and works to keep your tongue from collapsing into your airway when you sleep. It holds everything in place through suction, and sticks your tongue outward in the device.

Soft palate lifters

This device raises the uvula (the bit of tissue that dangles down from the back of your throat) and soft palate to reduce vibrations while resting.

Regardless of what option you need to help you get a full night’s rest, we’re here to help

If you’re struggling to sleep and dealing with the symptoms of sleep apnea (like daytime sleepiness, snoring, waking up repeatedly while sleeping, or insomnia) make an appointment with Dr. Hardy and her team at Frisco Dental Implant Center today to get started.