Sleep apnea is one tricky sleep disorder. It is very common and it affects millions of people around the world. Although it is a sleep problem, a person who suffers from it can’t take sleeping medications because, ironically, sleeping pills, sedatives, and other medications for sleep just make the sleep problem worse. Sleep apnea is characterized by the cessation of breath during sleep, which may either be caused by the blockage of the airway (obstructive sleep apnea) or the failure of the brain to send signals to the respiratory system which causes the halt of breathing cycles (central sleep apnea).
The most common form of treatment for sleep apnea is the PAP device, also known as positive airway pressure machines. These devices work by blowing pressurized air into the airway, promoting normal respiration and normalizing breathing cycles. Although these are effective devices, CPAP machines have a lot of side effects to the health like nasal congestion, swollen sinuses, dry mouth, sore throat, aerophagia, hypercapnia, swollen eyes, and even teeth movement and jaw dislocation.
An alternative of the CPAP machine and other sleep apnea treatments is the dental device, and the TAP is one of the most renowned models that provide excellent results. Dental devices are usually in the form of a mouth guard, worn in the mouth in order to promote proper breathing and to keep the airway open. These devices are usually classified into two, the mandibular advancement device and the tongue retaining device.
TAP, or Thornton Adjustable Positioner, is a mandibular advancement device that keeps the tongue and other throat tissues from coming in contact with each other, thus preventing airway blockage. The TAP can only be used by obstructive sleep apnea patients, but this device has been found to be very effective and has captured the attention of many doctors, dentists, and sleep apnea patients.
The TAP is a common example of a mandibular advancement device, but it provides patients as well as doctors a lot of relief because the device can easily be adjusted by the patient himself. He no longer has to go to his dentist to have it adjusted, unlike many other dental appliances available in the market or created by dentists. Any patient can adjust the TAP to its preferable position that best keeps the trachea or airway open without causing discomfort to the patient.
Usually, the TAP is composed of two elements: the maxillary and the mandibular elements. Between the two elements is a screw which adjusts the protrusion of the mandible while being worn, enough for a patient to be able to determine how much or how little his mandibular device should be protruded. After the comfortable measure of advancement has been set, the patient may now sleep well without snoring or experiencing apnea. Most of the time, the TAP yields excellent results.
The developers of the TAP have created several variations of the device, each designed to provide comfort and satisfaction to different sleep apnea patients. There is a model of the TAP that is made of stainless steel-nickel alloy, and another is nickel-free for users who may have sensitive mouths and are allergic to nickel. The elements of the TAP are made of thermoplastic polycarbonates which have two layers – the ThermAcryl and the Triple Laminate.
The ThermAcryl is a polymer that can be heated to become soft and follow the contours of a patient’s teeth. The Triple Laminate, on the other hand, is a flexible dual laminate that serves as the outer layer creating suction on the teeth to make the device readily wearable.
Using the TAP in lieu of CPAP machines and other treatments for sleep apnea has been found very beneficial by many sleep apnea patients. Although it is very expensive, usually ranging from $1500 and above, the TAP can definitely deliver positive results and is created for long-term use. If properly utilized, sleep apnea patients need not use CPAP machines anymore because they can already rely on the TAP to provide the comfortable sleep that they need.