Therapy with oral appliances begins with choosing and fitting of an oral appliance that keep the airway open and unobstructed when sleeping. Over the counter devices are not recommended, as custom appliances have been shown to be much more effective.
A certified sleep specialist has to make the diagnosis and make a recommendation on the best option for treatment. A board certified dental sleep specialist is well-trained in oral appliances and familiar with how they are designed, how to fit them and will be able to follow up on how well they’re working.
The initial stage of therapy with oral appliances can take weeks or even months to finish. This stage include the exam, determining the best type of appliance, fitting and adapting the appliance. Follow up care, both short and long term, is critical in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. During follow-up care, the specialist can assess your treatment and how well you are responding to your appliance as well as making sure it is comfortable and effective.
Reasons to consider oral appliances
- Appliances are comfortable. Most people become accustomed to the appliance in just a couple of weeks.
- Appliances are small and traveling with them is easy.
- Treatment is non-invasive.
Oral appliances work by:
- Shifting the tongue, lower jaw, uvula and soft palate to open the airway,
- Strengthening the muscles in the tongue, and
- Holding the tongue and lower jaw in place.
Types of Sleep Apnea Appliances
There are so many kinds of oral appliances available that selecting one can be confusing. Be assured that choosing is not as difficult as it seems. There are two major categories of appliances and all appliances are essentially just variations on a few ideas, and they are classified by either mechanism or by design.
Tongue Retaining Appliances
These types of appliances use a suction bulb to hold the tongue forward in the mouth. This prevents the back part of the tongue from collapsing and blocking the airway.
Mandibular Repositioning Appliances
This type of appliance shifts the lower jaw forward during sleep. Pulling the jaw forward pulls the tongue forward also and stimulates the tongue to make it stiff. This type of device also stabilizes the jaw and prevents the mouth from dropping open.
To schedule a free consultation to review your Sleep Apnea treatment options, call (913) 721-1300.
Keeping your smile healthy well into the future starts with creating healthy at-home habits followed by regular visits to our Kansas City Dentist twice a year. To learn more about your treatment options, call Drake Family Dentistry to schedule your next cleaning and examination.