Oral appliance therapy is a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring.
The patient wears a custom-made appliance resembling an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard at night. It keeps the upper airway open by moving the lower jaw forward.
How do you get an oral appliance?
The dentist will start by explaining the therapy, including its costs and potential problems.
He will then conduct a thorough clinical examination of the patient’s teeth, jaws, tongue and airway and he may order an X-ray of the patient’s mouth.
The dentist may also take digital or physical impressions and models of the patient’s teeth.
When the appliance is complete, the dentist will want to try a fitting.
The dentist will then adjust the appliance for maximum comfort and effectiveness.
He will also teach the patient how to maintain and clean the appliance.
The patient’s sleep doctor may then schedule a sleep study to determine the success of the treatment.
How effective are oral appliances?
Oral appliances work best for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
They can help some people with severe apnea especially those who can’t tolerate positive airway pressure therapy.
Oral appliance therapy can sometimes be used in conjunction with CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy.
What is CPAP?
CPAP is a treatment that uses a machine to help someone with OSA breathe more easily while sleeping.
It increases the air pressure in the patient’s throat to prevent their airway from collapsing when they inhale.
There are several types of CPAP machines and they always have a mask or nose prongs that the patient wears when using it.
CPAP is generally used for people with moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Who is not a good candidate for oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is intended for people who are at least 18 years old.
People who have had braces or other orthodontic treatment are more likely to have their teeth move during treatment.
Individuals with untreated dental problems like periodontal disease or broken teeth should not use oral appliances.
People with severe sleep apnea are also usually not good candidates for oral appliance therapy.
Those who grind their teeth at night will probably have to replace the appliance within a couple of years.
To schedule an appointment, contact Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry today. Our practice is dedicated to helping patients, and we offer a variety of dentistry services to accomplish this goal.