If you have recently been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), your healthcare practitioner has probably mentioned two types of treatment: a mouth guard or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). For many people, a CPAP machine is intolerable and uncomfortable but a sleep apnoea mouth guard has made a positive difference for many patients who are struggling with sleep apnoea. 

What Is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is an interruption of your sleep because you stop breathing. If you suffer from OSA, the muscles of your throat and tongue relax and collapse during sleep, effectively closing off your airways and preventing you from breathing. When this happens, these events (also known as apnoeic episodes) can take place hundreds of times throughout the night, compromising your overall health and affecting your quality of sleep.

Making sure you can breathe during sleep is the objective of sleep apnoea treatment.

 

What Causes OSA?


It is possible for anyone to develop OSA, even children, but your risk will be higher if you:

  • Are carrying excess weight. Weight loss may help manage your condition
  • Are older. Your risk increases as you get older
  • Have hypertension
  • Have narrow sinuses or obstructed airways
  • Are a diabetic
  • Are a smoker
  • Have nasal congestion at night
  • Are a man
  • Have a history of OSA running in your family

 

What Treatments Are Available To Help Patients With OSA?

Sleep apnoea mouth guards and CPAP machines remain the most effective ways to treat OSA. 

 

CPAP machines

CPAP machines feed air into your lungs to make sure you are getting enough oxygen at night. For the machine to work you need to wear a mask over your face and sleep in the same room as the machine.

 

mouth guard for sleep apnoea melbourneWhile the major benefit of using a CPAP machine is oxygenating yourself and getting quality sleep, there are some disadvantages that mean certain patients can’t use them:

  • While CPAP machines have got smaller and more compact, they do make a noise that may disturb you
  • Many patients find that sleeping with the mask on is uncomfortable
  • Having continuous air pushed into your airways can leave you with a dry mouth, sinus problems or cause nose bleeds in some patients

 

  • Other physical side effects can include bloating, sore chest muscles and irritation on the nose and face as a result of wearing the mask.

If a CPAP machine has been issued to you and you are feeling discomfort, discuss your symptoms with your GP. Sometimes adjustments can be made to make it more comfortable.

 

Sleep Apnoea Mouth Guards

In the event that your sleep apnoea is mild to moderate, or you have had difficulty using the CPAP machine, a sleep apnoea mouth guard could be the solution.

 

Mandibular advancement device (MAD)

A mandibular advancement device is very similar to sports mouth guards. It is placed over your top and lower jaws before sleeping and has a hinge that pushes your lower jaw forward. The result of this design is two-fold: it keeps your mouth open enough to be able to breathe, and it stops your jaws from grinding together and causing damage and wear to your teeth surfaces. This also eases pressure on your jaw joint, in the event that you grind your teeth (and many OSA sufferers are teeth grinders).

 

Mandibular advancement devices are the most commonly used devices for the treatment of OSA. Some have customisable hinges that allow you to select the degree to which you want the lower jaw to be pushed forward.

 

Tongue retaining devices

Tongue retaining devices are used less commonly than mandibular advancement devices and their primary purpose is to restrain the tongue and keep it out of the way while you sleep. This prevents it from falling into the back of your throat and inhibiting breathing.

 

The Importance Of Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Is a mouth guard important to treat OSA? Well, if a CPAP hasn’t worked for you and you experience OSA episodes during the night, you do need to have treatment for it. There are a host of health complications and risks associated with obstructive sleep apnoea and using an oral appliance gives you a chance of treating it before it can lead to more serious complications.

 

Get Better Sleep

We all need seven to nine hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep a day in order to function and be healthy. Not getting enough restful sleep can leave you irritable, emotionally drained and give you concentration and memory problems that compromise your quality of life and put you in potentially dangerous situations.

 

Protect Overall Health And Wellness

In addition, having OSA can put your cardiovascular system under a great deal of pressure. Many patients who have sleep apnoea also have elevated blood pressure, which increases your risk of diabetes. Your risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke is also proportional to the severity of your condition. In other patients, sleep apnoea can cause low blood pressure and arrhythmias and, if there is an underlying heart condition, the arrhythmias can cause sudden death.

 

Protect Your Personal Relationships

Sleep apnoea can take its toll on your personal relationships. Many people who have the condition may not even be aware of it, but waking up during the night gasping for breath or snoring can disturb the person you sleep next to.

If you’re struggling with OSA a sleep apnoea mouth guard could make a major improvement in your health and wellness. For more information or to book an assessment, please contact us

Armadale: (03) 9068 5355

Footscray: (03) 9068 5357

Niddrie: (03) 9068 5316

 

REFERENCES

Is a mouth guard necessary for sleep apnea?

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/respiratory-conditions/is-a-mouth-guard-necessary-for-sleep-apnea

 

For sleep apnea, a mouth guard may be a good alternative to CPAP

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/31/well/mind/sleep-apnea-treatment-mouth-guard.html

 

Mouth devices for sleep apnea

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/mouth-devices-for-sleep-apnea

 

Obstructive sleep apnea

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obstructive-sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352090

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