Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep Apnea Specialist | Serving Vancouver WA and Portland OR
Millions of individuals suffer with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine defines OSA as: “A potentially life-threatening condition characterized by episodes of breathing cessation during sleep alternating with snoring or disordered breathing.” The conventional treatments involve the use of CPAP machines. But, nearly 50 percent of OSA sufferers either cannot tolerate or will not use a face mask while sleeping.
Sleep Apnea Treatment without CPAP Machines
The good news is that advancements in today’s dental technology have developed individualized oral appliance therapy programs for patients that does not involve the use of a machine. The use of dental sleep medicine devices enables patients to sleep comfortably by reducing or eliminating the amount of OSA episodes or snoring. Dental appliances do not require any machine connection, they do not restrict a person’s sleeping position, and they are durable, easy to use, easy to clean, convenient for travel, and can be used anywhere.
Herbst Sleep Appliance
People who suffer with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or snoring can benefit from the use of a Herbst dental sleep appliance, which fits over the upper and lower teeth while sleeping to reposition the jaw.
Dorsal Sleep Appliances
Ideal for people with mild-moderate sleep apnea, the main goal of Dorsal dental appliances is to keep the lower jaw from dropping during sleep, by keeping the airways open and allowing for easy breathing without snoring.
Oral Appliance Therapy
The two major classifications of devices used for oral appliance therapy are labeled as either Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) that target the lower jaw, or Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD) that target the tongue. There is no one-size-fits-all appliance for OSA or snoring solutions. A specially trained sleep apnea dentist determines the best appliance for each person based on the patient’s OSA symptoms as well as the condition of the patient’s teeth, jawline, tongue size, gums, bite configuration, and any cosmetic dental work.
Dental Sleep Medicine Devices
Oral appliances are customized dental sleep medicine devices made from heat sensitive acrylic and, depending on the patient’s needs, will be worn over the tongue or over the lower and upper teeth. One favorable feature of a MAD is that it can be adjusted to accommodate lower jawline changes necessary to restore a normal breathing pattern when sleeping. MADs are most effective for OSA suffers.
Sleep Apnea Snoring Solutions
Some oral appliances have been shown to be particularly effective as snoring solutions. TRDs are custom-made of soft materials and used to prevent a patient’s tongue from relaxing backwards in the mouth. In addition to TRDs, there are other smaller, but less durable, appliances that provide snoring relief.