Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Research shows that many people experience snoring throughout their lifetime. The snoring is typically a manifestation of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, as well as other health issues.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has increasingly caught the world’s attention owing to its potential to deteriorate the quality of life and low treatability rate. Research shows that OSA can lead to an apnea event where breathing is hampered for a few seconds. Breathing thus becomes difficult causing a decrease in oxygen concentration in the blood.
Subsequently, some organs could experience stress during such conditions, and this leads to various health issues. Furthermore, since apnea can impede breathing, it is considered a life-threatening condition. Sleep apnea can also cause daytime exhaustion, a problem known to cause many car accidents.
Consulting a dentist is crucial to avoid such adverse occurrences. Some of the treatment measures include the use of snoring appliances. Snoring appliances are fitting dental pieces placed in the mouth to alter the position of the jaw, soft palate, and the tongue and are used to mitigate snoring as well as the symptoms of mild or moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
The appliances are also referred to as Mandibular Repositioning Appliances (MRA), Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS), or Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD). The devices resemble a mouth guard and are placed in the mouth before going to bed.
Typically, the snoring devices are recommended for people whose OSA is triggered by a narrow airway passage or from a situation where the tongue relaxes back into the airway during sleep thus impeding normal breathing.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring occurs when the tissues of the throat and nose vibrate resulting in harsh or hoarse sounds. The condition has the potential to impede breathing partially and could be a sign of OSA. However, there are other causative factors of OSA including congestion, alcohol use, pregnancy, obesity, and allergies.
Snoring appliances work by clearing the obstruction. The appliance pushes the lower jaw forward and nudges the airway open. Once the breathing passages are opened, the vibrations caused by obstruction recede and snoring stops. In addition to preventing snoring, snoring appliances can help to improve alertness, concentration, and emotional stability during the day.
How Effective Are Snoring Appliances?
Similar to other forms of treatment, people respond differently to the appliances. For individuals with mild to moderate sleep apnea, there is usually a high rate of success. Additionally, for an individual who is not overweight, and for those who experience reduced apnea when they lie on their side, compared to lying on the back, such appliances have a high success rate.
Research also shows that the effectiveness of snoring appliances is compromised in individuals diagnosed with central sleep apnea. However, it is only when one tries the device that one can see the effect.
What Are the Positive Aspects of Snoring Appliances?
In addition to being portable, snoring appliances are a non-invasive form of treatment. Therefore, it is possible to carry the device anywhere in the purse or bag. Moreover, there is usually no need for surgery. Also, due to their ease of use, it is simple to comply with treatment.
Are There Any Side Effects?
If the appliance is used the right way, then it is unlikely to cause adverse side effects. However, due to the mechanism of action which relies on pushing the jaw forward, the initial use of the appliance results in discomfort. The discomfort is felt at the joint located at the back of the jaw but usually dissipates in the morning. With prolonged use, the discomfort tends to ease.
Our Recommended Snoring Appliances
We recommend the O2Vent Optima by Oventus Medical. Here’s why.
Sleep apnea patients with nasal obstruction are typically prescribed a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine rather than an oral appliance. This is because an oral appliance can limit mouth breathing — which is pretty crucial if you cannot breathe properly through your nose! — and make the patient uncomfortable.
However, many OSA (obstructed sleep apnea) patients who are prescribed a CPAP machine find it cumbersome to tolerate since it:
- Requires the user to wear a mask when sleeping
- Requires a power source
- Can be a hassle to maintain
- Is bulky to travel with
Fortunately, new technology is bringing forth advanced options in the world of snoring appliances. One of our top recommendations is the O2Vent Optima.
What Is the O2Vent Optima?
The O2Vent Optima by Oventus Medical is a customised, removable 3D printed oral device. It is specifically fitted to the patient’s mouth to help alleviate snoring and mild to moderate OSA.
How Does It Work?
The O2Vent® Optima utilises a unique airway channel that allows airflow to bypass common sites of obstruction such as the soft palate, tongue, and nose. This feature allows air to easily reach the back of the throat. It is the only oral device to do this.
The O2Vent Optima achieves this by:
- Pulling the lower jaw forward to open the airway and stabilise the tongue
- Providing a unique air channel to help keep patients comfortable, even if they have nasal congestion or difficulty breathing through their nose (this air channel ensures the unobstructed flow of air to the back of the throat)
How Is It Fitted?
- If we determine the O2Vent Optima is the right option for you, we start by taking an image of your teeth. We then send that image to Oventus where the customised appliance is made.
- Once the O2Vent Optima is ready, we will assess the fit and monitor its effectiveness in addressing your snoring and/or OSA.
- During the initial phase of using your Optima, we work closely with you to ensure we determine the correct positioning.
- Once the correct settings and fit have been established, you simply wear the Optima every time you sleep.
Who Should Not Use the O2Vent Optima?
The Optima device is contraindicated for patients who:
- Are under 18 years of age
- Have loose teeth or advanced periodontal disease or restorative needs
- Have severe respiratory disorders
- Have central sleep apnea
How Do I Know If It’s Right for Me?
If you are searching for a discreet, comfortable alternative to a CPAP or have questions about snoring appliances, please contact us so we can help you determine if a snoring appliance could be appropriate for you.
We would be glad to answer any of your questions and determine the best treatment plan for your needs. Even if you have already started CPAP therapy and can’t seem to get used to it, we can talk with you about possible alternatives such as the O2Vent Optimus.