Sleep Apnea

Understanding Sleep Apnea: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Mandibular Devices

Sleep apnea is a common but potentially serious sleep disorder characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can occur multiple times throughout the night, leading to fragmented sleep and a range of health issues if left untreated.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea comes in two main forms: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the more prevalent form, occurring when the muscles in the throat relax excessively during sleep, causing the airway to become blocked.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): This type involves a problem with the brain’s signaling to the muscles that control breathing.


A sleep study, conducted either in a sleep center or at home using specialized equipment, is typically required to diagnose sleep apnea. This study monitors various parameters during sleep, such as breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and heart rate, to determine the presence and severity of the condition.


Treatment options for sleep apnea vary depending on the severity and type of the disorder. Here are some common approaches:

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask connected to a machine that delivers a continuous stream of air to keep the airway open during sleep.

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP): Similar to CPAP, but with adjustable pressure levels for inhalation and exhalation, which may be more comfortable for some individuals.

Oral Appliance Therapy: Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are a type of oral appliance that can be prescribed to treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. These devices are worn in the mouth during sleep and work by positioning the lower jaw forward, thereby preventing the collapse of the airway.

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs):

MADs are custom-made oral appliances that are designed to hold the lower jaw in a slightly forward position during sleep. By doing so, they help to keep the airway open and reduce the frequency of apnea episodes.

These devices are often preferred by individuals who find CPAP therapy uncomfortable or impractical. MADs are less intrusive, portable, and easier to use, making them a popular alternative for many sleep apnea sufferers.


Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can have serious consequences if left untreated. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options available, including mandibular advancement devices, which offer relief for many individuals struggling with this condition. If you suspect you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation and explore the various treatment options to improve sleep quality and overall health.