Treating sleep apnea requires a multidisciplinary approach. The team consists of oral and maxillofacial surgeons, sleep apnea specialists, otolaryngologists, and pulmonologists. A primary care physician will also consult on the case, due to their long history with the patients. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by a stoppage of air flow during sleep. It can have negative effects on your daily life, leaving you frequently tired, unable to focus, and cranky. It an also impact your partner, as a major sign of OSA is snoring. Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a series of tests, including a physical exam and a sleep study, or Polysomnogram. This test can be done in a sleep clinic or at home.
While there are different methods of treating sleep apnea, one thing an East Manhattan sleep apnea specialist will try first is custom oral devices for sleep apnea. These devices are beneficial for obstructive sleep apnea specifically because they provide support to the soft palate and keep it from collapsing by allowing for more room. Patients will be fitted for a custom mouth guard, as the treatment is more effective if it’s designed specifically for the patient as opposed to buying something over the counter. Of course, patients need to be compliant and wear their sleep apnea mouth guard every night in order for it to have any impact on the condition.
There are a few different types of oral devices for sleep apnea. One is the mandibular advancement device, which is the most common. It eases the lower jaw forward by going over the upper and lower dental arches. Another is a tongue retaining device, which is effective for patients with mild or moderate cases of sleep apnea. It keeps the tongue in place so it doesn’t block the airway. Overall, these oral devices for sleep apnea are particularly effective for people who sleep on their backs or stomachs.
Getting fitted for a custom mouth guard or other oral device doesn’t mean that is all you need. It’s important to regularly check in with a doctor in order to adjust the device if necessary and figure out something else if the device isn’t working properly. It could be due to an improper fit, which means you’ll have to get a new mold.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea, see an East Manhattan sleep apnea specialist and the rest of the team. They will be able to diagnose you and figure out whether your case will be benefited from a sleep apnea mouth guard or other oral device.