New Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea Can Help Improve Your Sleep Quality

In an innovative study at the Department of Orthodontics in Hiroshima University Hospital, researchers have developed a new oral appliance to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea. Researchers used 3D imaging to measure the participants’ airways while they slept lying down flat. This research has laid the foundation for an effective treatment plan that can successfully open patients’ airways to help them sleep better. Also, the study confirmed the possibility of further collaborations between the dental and medical field for sleep apnea treatment.

Read further to learn about the latest oral appliance that can treat sleep apnea and help you sleep better.

How Sleep Apnea Impacts Health

The National Sleep Foundation estimates that over 18 million adults suffer from sleep apnea, which increases the potential risk of severe health disorders and even death. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which the throat muscles collapse, resulting in a constricted airway which triggers snorting, choking, or gasping that disturbs the patient’s sleep quality. Patients who suffer from sleep apnea are unlikely to notice these symptoms.

Mild to moderate sleep apnea causes fatigue and reduced attention span due to lack of sleep. Sleep apnea can also lead to grievous consequences wherein people have died from extreme forms of the condition. Fortunately, a new oral device, known as the mandibular advancement appliance, can let people with sleep apnea sleep peacefully.

The New Sleep Apnea Appliance

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) appliance is one of the several traditional sleep apnea treatments. It mainly consists of a mask that is worn by patients to receive continuous air pressure throughout the night.
The scientists at Hiroshima University have invented an oral appliance that can be customized to treat patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. This device helps to bring the jawbone forward, which expands the airways at the back of a patient’s mouth. Since every patient has a unique jaw bone structure and jaw movements, these machines are custom-designed for each patient. No dental adjustments are required for the jaw, teeth, or shape of the patient’s face.

The research team, led by Dr. Yu Matsumura, reviewed the functioning of the device by taking Multislice Computed Tomography (MSCT) X-rays of a group of individuals undergoing mild-to-moderate sleep apnea disorder. The X-ray machine rotates around the subject and takes photographs, which are further examined and then combined to have a 3D view of the subject to produce precision scans.

Dr. Hiroshi Ueda, who contributed to the study with Dr. Matsumura, had quoted a convincing explanation for using this appliance in the journal, Science Daily. He compared this device to glasses and stated that as you need to wear glasses whenever you want to see correctly, similarly you have to wear this oral appliance whenever you want to sleep better.

Read more: Sedation Dentistry: Is It Right for You?

Why Is this Study Important?

In contrast to previous studies, this research, published in the Sleep Disorders Journal, studied the variations in a patient’s airways while they were lying down flat. Previously, the participants weren’t allowed to sleep, but in this new study, 13 patients assumed an essential sleeping position. The researchers also recorded that the oral appliance helped nearly half of the sleep apnea patients who stated they had more comfortable breathing patterns and broader airways while they slept with the oral device.

The Japanese scientists believe that the new research is unique, and it deserves attention from dentists who can significantly contribute towards improving the sleeping and breathing conditions of patients.

Contact us today to learn how we cure snoring and daytime drowsiness issues due to OSA, using specialized dental appliances.

Related Article: Is Sleep Apnea Fatal? Latest Research Report & Treatment Options


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Sleep Apnea Research Report

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