GeneralLifestyle |4 min read

Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured?

an image of a dental appliance for sleep apnea in a case

Sadly, sleep apnea affects millions worldwide. This issue is a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, often accompanied by loud snoring and restless nights, that can hinder your and your partner’s sleep and put you at risk for health issues.

While all this sounds frightening, there ARE treatments to help and lessen your chances of complications.

For instance, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a well-established treatment option. But, unfortunately, you may find the mask uncomfortable or the machine’s noise bothersome. Or, you may struggle with consistent or proper use.

An alternative approach, using an oral appliance for sleep apnea, has recently gained attention.

But the questions remain:

  • Can sleep apnea be cured?
  • What’s the effectiveness of a dental appliance for sleep apnea?

Virginia Dental Solutions has the answers!

Understanding sleep apnea

Before discussing potential cures, it’s crucial to understand the nature of sleep apnea. There are three main types of it: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea (CSA), and complex sleep apnea syndrome (also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea).

OSA, the most prevalent form, occurs when the airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep, leading to repeated interruptions in breathing.

Traditional treatment approaches

CPAP therapy has long been considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea. It involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth that delivers a constant flow of pressurized air, preventing the airway from collapsing during sleep. Maybe, you already use, or avoid using, this device.

Although a CPAP machine is highly effective, providing immediate relief, it has drawbacks. For example, you may find the mask uncomfortable, feel claustrophobic, or experience skin irritation. As a result, compliance rates are often suboptimal, limiting the long-term success of CPAP therapy.

The role of oral appliances

Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices or MADs, offer an alternative treatment approach for sleep apnea, which our dentist can provide.

These custom-made devices resemble mouthguards or dental splints and reposition the jaw, tongue, and soft tissue to keep the airway open during sleep.

By advancing the lower jaw forward, oral appliances help prevent airway collapse, reducing the severity of sleep apnea and improving overall sleep quality.

Compared to a CPAP mask, this is a more comfortable option, as it’s not as bulky.

Effectiveness of oral appliances

Multiple studies have shown the efficacy of oral appliances in managing sleep apnea.

Specifically, research indicates that oral appliances can effectively reduce the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) — the number of breathing interruptions per hour. Moreover, this therapy can alleviate symptoms such as loud snoring and daytime sleepiness.

Oral appliances are particularly effective for individuals with mild to moderate OSA. However, their effectiveness may vary depending on the severity of the condition and individual anatomical factors.

Can sleep apnea be cured?

While oral appliances provide significant relief, they don’t offer a definitive cure for sleep apnea. Nothing cures it since it’s a chronic condition that requires ongoing management.

With that being said, oral appliances can serve as a valuable long-term treatment option, enabling you to control symptoms effectively and improve your quality of life.

Combination therapies

In some cases, combining therapies may yield better results. For individuals who can’t tolerate CPAP therapy or find oral appliances for sleep apnea alone insufficient, your sleep specialist and a dentist may recommend a combination of treatments, such as CPAP and oral appliance therapy (OAT).

This approach, known as combination therapy, aims to maximize the benefits of both treatments and tailor the care plan to your needs.

So, are you tired of waking up in the middle of the night and feeling exhausted all day? Do you hate to wear a CPAP mask? We can’t tell you that sleep apnea can be cured, but we can say you can find ways to manage it at our office.

Oral appliances have emerged as a viable alternative to CPAP therapy for some patients, and we’ll gladly review your medical history and determine if you’re eligible.

At Virginia Dental Solutions, we encourage you to call or send a message if you desire a comfortable way to treat sleep apnea.


We have two locations, one in Reston and one in Ashburn. We’re also easily accessible to Centreville, Herndon, Wolf Trap, Dulles, Chantilly, Oakton, Tysons Corner, Floris, Arcola, Leesburg, Potomac Falls, Brambleton, and Daysville.

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