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Can a snoring mouthpiece treat sleep apnea

Before addressing what oral appliances can treat sleep apnea, it’s important to clarify what it is. Sleep apnea is actually a serious sleep disorder that requires a visit with a doctor or dentist for proper treatment. Snoring may be a symptom of the disorder, which can lead you to look at anti-snoring devices, like mouthpieces, for treatment, but they won’t address the central issue.

A quick definition

Potentially serious, sleep apnea occurs when your airway collapses causing your breathing to stop intermittently resulting in in oxygen desaturation and disrupted sleep as the body fights to get more air. Symptoms can include gasping for breath, very loud snoring, dry mouth, morning headaches, and feelings of exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep.

Types of sleep apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea, which can be diagnosed by a medical professional.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when your throat muscles relax which is why many people think a stop snoring mouthpiece will remedy the situation.
  • Central sleep apnea – deals with your breathing patterns rather than your airway. This form of apnea is neurological in nature and occurs because the brain isn’t sending proper signals to the muscles which control your breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome – occurs when you suffer from both of the above types of sleep apnea.

Treatment options

A continuous positive airway pressure device or CPAP machine is often the prescribed treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. CPAPs consist of a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth which blows air into the airway to help keep it open while you sleep. Physicians typically prescribe this device over others because they don’t have the proper medical training to fit patients with alternative oral appliances. If you’re one of the many people who find a CPAP machine does not work for you, there are over 100 different oral devices FDA-Cleared to treat both snoring and OSA. Most of these mouthpieces, however, require a custom fitting by a sleep dental professional along with frequent adjustments at the start of use to make sure the mouthpiece is treating your OSA effectively.

It’s important you verify that the device you’ve selected to treat your sleep apnea is FDA Cleared for treating OSA and not just snoring. Using a device that’s only meant to treat snoring means you run the risk of being under-treated. Stop snoring mouthpieces will effectively clear and widen your airway to help alleviate snoring, but, if you have sleep apnea, they might not provide the level of treatment that is required for your degree of OSA.  

Always consult a medical professional if you think you have sleep apnea

Left untreated, OSA can lead to an increased risk for dangerous health effects such as heart attack, stroke, and deadly heart rhythms, which is why it’s important to consult a medical professional should you experience additional symptoms along with snoring at night. Consult your sleep partner since they may notice irregularities in your breathing while you sleep that you’re unaware are happening. Effective treatment for sleep apnea is only available through a doctor or sleep dental professional.

Still, have more questions about stop snoring mouthpieces? Our thorough list of Frequently Asked Questions can help you find the information you need to make an informed choice on which stop-snoring mouthpiece is right for you.