Merion Village Dental Blog

Mouth Guards For Sleep Apnea: Pros & Cons

October 12, 2022

Merion Village

Categories: MVD Patients

Do your friends and family tell you all the time that you snore really loudly? Do you still feel tired after a full night of sleep? There’s a chance you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Luckily, treatments like mouth guards for sleep apnea are easy to come by.

 

But what is this condition? What causes it? Let’s dive in:

 

Sleep apnea is a common condition that causes your breathing to stop and restart several times while you’re sleeping. This condition is said to affect 18% of adults in the United States and 100 million people globally. There are two different forms of sleep apnea, obstructive and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type) occurs when your upper airway becomes blocked many times while you sleep which reduces or completely stops your air flow. Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain does not send the signals necessary for you to breathe.

 

Although this is a common condition, it still shouldn’t be taken lightly. The most common sleep apnea treatments include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines and oral devices such as mouth guards. CPAP machines can cause congestion, dry nose, dry mouth, etc… For those looking for alternatives to CPAP therapy, mouth guards are a less bulky, more comfortable treatment for sleep apnea.

Will A Mouth Guard Help My Sleep Apnea?

Depending on what kind of sleep apnea you have, yes it will! Before issuing a mouth guard as sleep apnea treatment, you should have a sleep study done first. At Merion Village Dental, we have our patients take an at-home sleep study to let us know if you would benefit from a sleep apnea mouthpiece.

How Does A Mouth Guard Help Your Sleep Apnea?

In brief: a mouth guard opens the airway, allowing you to get better rest. This device guides your jaw forward so that your soft palate, tongue, tonsils, and the back of your mouth don’t come in contact with each other. Your mouth guard will:

 

  • Open your airway while sleeping
  • Prevent soft tissues from sealing off the airway
  • Use proven positioning techniques similar to those used in CPR
  • Potentially eliminate the need for CPAP machines completely

Perks Of Using a Mouthpiece

Of course the main perk to using a mouthpiece at night is treating your sleep apnea, but there are also other benefits to this device:

 

  • Reduced daytime sleepiness
  • Improving blood oxygen levels
  • Improving diastolic and systolic blood pressure over time
  • Higher overall quality of life

Problems You May Experience

Like any treatment, there are some potential risks to be aware of when using a mouth guard for sleep apnea. Talk to your dentist about the following:

 

  • Drooling
  • Dry Mouth
  • Gum irritation
  • Tooth pain
  • Headaches

 

In most cases, side effects only last for a few months as you get used to the mouth guard.

The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea

On the surface, sleep apnea just appears to be really loud snoring and going untreated doesn’t seem like a big deal however, this is not the case. Several studies have shown the connection between long term sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes, strokes, and heart attacks. Obesity is very common in sleep apnea patients, and while not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea is obese it is still important to note that connection because obesity is also common in patients who experience high blood sugar levels and heart attacks. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find sleep apnea treatment.

We Can Help You

If you think you might be experiencing sleep apnea, we can help! Merion Village Dental specializes in sleep apnea treatment to get you feeling (and resting) your best. Contact us today to book your consultation and get the expert care you deserve!

We invite you to book your first appointment with us today & take advantage of new patient perks! schedule online now.