Sleep apnea sufferers may be able to say goodbye to bulky machines

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One way of treating sleep apnea is with an oxygen mask tied to a machine, but a Newton Falls dentist’s office is now recommending a new device that’s a simple mouthguard.

A CPAP machine consists of a tube and a mask that blows air through the nose. That’s typically what’s used to treat sleep apnea — a potentially serious disorder that causes a person to periodically stop breathing throughout the night. A CPAP machine constantly provides oxygen.

“It’s cumbersome,” said Dr. Kelsey Werner, a dentist at Sleep Easy Dental Spa. “A lot of patients say they just can’t stand to wear it.”

The newest way to treat sleep apnea is a simple mouthguard that pushes the lower jaw slightly forward so the tongue can’t go back and block a person’s airway.

“They love it, they love it. They can sleep at night,” Werner said.

Jeff Housel, of Lordstown, said the device is wonderful. He had it fitted at the Sleep Easy Dental Spa.

Housel was diagnosed with sleep apnea about five years ago.

“I went to the hospital and had a sleep apnea test, and they said my heart stopped about seven times through the night,” he said.

Housel has used the CPAP machine before.

“I roll around a lot when I sleep. I just get tangled up in it, it’s just miserable,” he said.

Now he just uses the oral appliance.

“It’s easy. Just pop it in your mouth at night, you sleep well, take it out in the morning. There’s no machine to clean,” Housel said.

Werner said some of their patients are finally dreaming again.

“I mean, it’s a really wonderful thing. They just feel more awake during the day and more productive.”

But they aren’t the only ones who like it.

“My wife appreciates it, too,” Housel said.

No one could say how much each of the devices cost. However, both the CPAP machine and the new oral device are covered by most insurances.

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