Oral Appliance Treatment Options
Patients that suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea have a variety of treatment choices to help prevent their airway from becoming obstructed while sleeping. The most common method of treatment for sleep apnea has always been Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, otherwise known as CPAP. This method has been available for a while, but unfortunately, it is a very overbearing and difficult to deal with method for many patients, causing most to give up. During CPAP, patients are given a steady stream of air through the use of a large mask that must be worn while sleeping. While this method is successful for some, it can be difficult to get comfortable to fall asleep in the first place. For some people though, this method is not even a successful treatment. At Randolph Center for Dental Excellence, we offer our patients a variety of oral appliances that are easier to handle, making it not only safer, but also more comfortable to sleep without the hassle of the large mask.
How Oral Appliances Work
The oral appliances that are available for treatment of sleep apnea look similar to a mouth guard that you would find on a professional sports player or as a dental retainer. This device simply fits over the patient's teeth and helps to avoid the risk of a collapsing tongue or the chance of the tissue in the back of the throat causing an obstruction. The appliance helps to thrust the jaw and tongue forward to keep it from becoming an obstruction while the patient sleeps. The ultimate goal of the appliances is to open up the airways, leaving less of a chance of an obstruction and the risk of the patient suffocating while sleeping.
The Types of Oral Appliances
While there are many different brands and types of oral appliances, there are two general categories that they can be classified under.
||Tongue Retaining Appliance - These appliances help to thrust the tongue forward. This helps to prevent its collapse, which for many patients is what causes the obstruction in the airway.
||Mandibular Repositioning Appliance - These appliances reposition the lower jaw, thrusting it forward, just as the tongue retaining appliance does for the tongue. By pushing the jaw forward, the tongue is also pushed while the appliance holds the mouth steady while sleeping to prevent collapse of the jaw and obstruction from occurring.
The Customized Oral Appliance
Even though you might find oral appliances available over-the-counter, they are not designed specifically for your needs and might not help your sleep apnea problem. When you seek the assistance of our qualified dentists, we will custom fit an oral appliance for you to ensure not only a proper fit but also the most efficiency from the appliance. The oral appliance that you receive from our dental practice will depend on your exact diagnosis from your sleep specialist. Once your diagnosis is obtained, our dentists can ensure that you are provided with the proper oral appliance that not only meets your needs, but also fits your mouth to provide the most successful outcome and the most restful sleep.
Please review the insurance Checklist and call your insurance provider to discuss coverage prior to your office visit for Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT).
Sleep Apnea Insurance Checklist
Please read more about: