Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated through oral appliance therapy. Our team is trained and equipped to provide you with a comfortable, convenient alternative to a CPAP machine. Oral appliance therapy, or OAT, can improve your health and quality of life just as significantly as other sleep apnea treatments. There are two main types of oral appliances used to prevent obstructive sleep apnea, and our dentists will work closely with you to determine which is right for you. Mandibular advancing devices are made of molded hard plastic and snap over your lower and upper teeth. These devices work by repositioning your lower jaw forward and slightly downward, effectively keeping your airway open while you sleep. Tongue retaining devices consist of a soft plastic splint placed around your tongue that holds it forward. By holding your tongue in place, the device can effectively prevent it from blocking your airway.
OAT can significantly improve the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, including moodiness, concentration issues, and daytime sleepiness. These devices can also help eliminate or reduce snoring, allowing patients and their partners to enjoy a better night’s sleep. Plus, dental oral appliances are quieter and more comfortable than other breathing devices. They also offer the advantage of being much easier to take with you while traveling and don’t require an electrical outlet.
Oral appliances treat obstructive sleep apnea effectively when fitted by a dentist who has training in treating sleep apnea. Our dentists are a critical component of the medical team in diagnosis, treatment, and continuing care. We will determine the correct appliance for obstructive sleep apnea treatment and fit your custom-crafted piece for a comfortable and effective treatment. But getting fit for your appliance is only one part of OAT. Over a period of time, our dentists will work to evaluate and adjust your treatment as needed by carefully monitoring the response of your teeth and jaws. On-going care is critical in ensuring your appliance works correctly and provides you with maximum benefits.
Research shows that oral appliance therapy is a viable, effective alternative to CPAP in most cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Plus, OAT is comfortable and easy enough to be used every night, no matter where you are. Many CPAP users skip nights of use simply because of the hassle and discomfort. While both options are effective ways of treating OSA, the choice you are more likely to comply with is the best course of treatment.
For patients who require PAP therapy, especially at very high pressures, using OAT in conjunction with a CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnea is also sometimes advised. With an oral appliance keeping the jaw from falling backward during sleep and closing the airway, the PAP pressure can be reduced. The resulting lower pressure can make a significant difference in the comfort of using a CPAP machine.