Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious medical condition. Many people who have OSA don’t realize they have it because the most notable symptoms occur during sleep.

Fortunately, effective treatments are available. Oral appliances can provide management of sleep apnea and can help improve your quality of life.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when airflow is blocked intermittently during sleep. Sleep apnea generally can be categorized as central sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea. Central OSA occurs when the brain fails to send the correct signals to the body telling it to breathe, while obstructive OSA occurs when there is a physical blockage in the airway.

Because sleep apnea occurs during sleep, many people don’t know they have it. Restricted oxygen can cause frequent night-time wakings, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and strokes among other issues. Therefore, it is something that requires immediate management.

What Causes OSA?

OSA is caused by anything that restricts the airway. This includes genetics, obesity, enlarged tonsils, and changes in hormone levels such as during menopause. These cause the soft tissues in your throat to temporarily relax, narrowing or closing the airway and cutting off the air supply.

What Are the Symptoms of OSA?

Common symptoms of OSA include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Using the bathroom multiple times a night
  • Headaches
  • Brain Fog
  • Dry mouth
  • Loud snoring
  • Gagging
  • Falling asleep while driving

What If I’ve Been Diagnosed With OSA?

If you’ve been diagnosed with OSA, we advise you to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treating this condition sooner than later can help manage symptoms and prevent additional health problems from developing (like high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke).

One more popular treatment option is oral appliance therapy. Custom appliances worn at night gently draw the lower jaw and tongue forward, preventing them from obstructing the airway.

Another option is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This treatment involves wearing a mask connected to a machine that uses air pressure to force the airway to stay open.

The Benefits of an Oral Appliance

Wearing an oral appliance offers many benefits, including:

  • It’s non-invasive
  • It’s silent at night
  • There is no additional apparatus
  • It’s simple to clean
  • It’s more tolerable over the long term

Why Is An Oral Appliance More Favorable Than a CPAP?

Most patients find that oral appliances are more comfortable and straightforward to use than CPAP machines. Because of this, patients tend to report fewer issues with oral appliances than CPAP machines.

However, there are several other reasons why patients feel oral appliances are easier than CPAPs.

Good for claustrophobic patients.

Individuals who don’t like being in confined spaces can find wearing a CPAP respirator distressing. Oral appliances avoid this issue.

Reduces side effects.

Oral appliances cause few side effects, while CPAP can cause dry mouth, nasal congestion, dry eyes and skin irritation.

Good for patients on the go.

Oral appliances are easily portable and convenient for travel.


Unlike CPAPs, oral appliances don’t make any noise at night.

No electricity required.

Oral appliances could also help people save on their energy bills! And in case the electricity goes out, you don’t have to worry about falling asleep without your medical support.


Patients tend to be much more compliant with oral appliances than with CPAPs, due to their advantages over CPAPs.

Better sleep to improve quality of life.

Finally, oral appliances foster better sleep. You can toss and turn freely when wearing one of these, while CPAP is more restrictive due to the tubing that connects the mask to the machine.

Oral appliances are an effective treatment for the management of sleep apnea and can help improve your quality of life. They are a much less invasive option than CPAPs, thereby increasing compliance and, as a result, effectiveness, providing you with the good night’s rest you deserve.

Explore Oral Appliance Treatment For Sleep Apnea With a Dentist in Richmond, VA

If you are interested in exploring oral appliance treatment and sleep dentistry services for OSA, book an appointment with our team. We can help you find solutions that manage OSA and help you get the rest you deserve!