Sleep apnea patients have newly approved alternative to CPAP

Millions of Americans snore or struggle with sleep apnea. These breathing conditions could lead to other serious health problems, but several influential groups are saying a simple mouthpiece is becoming more effective in treating these nagging bedtime issues.

“Snoring is narrowing of the airway, sleep apnea is closure of the airway,” Dr. Jonathan Parker of the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment Center explained.

Aside from being unable to breathe, sleep apnea can lead to other problems like high blood pressure and heart attacks, which is why Dr. Parker is recommending plastic mouthpieces to more patients for its simplicity and effectiveness in opening up airways.

New research published in the Journal of Dental Sleep Medicine and Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine offers new guidelines that show these mouthpieces should be used more often. That’s because the alternative treatment is a cumbersome breathing device called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure, which is a mask that uses air pressure to keep the airways.

“Some people are really suffering from this condition and this is exactly what they need,” Dr. Parker said.

Dr. Michael Howell at the Fairview Sleep Center says the mouth pieces won't replace the other solutions, but give patients another option. Doctors say there really are no side effects in using these mouth pieces, but an improper fit could lead to problems with your jaw or the way you bite.

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