Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. This involves placing a removable appliance in your mouth before you go to bed. The device is similar to a mouthguard or retainer and is less invasive and more comfortable than other treatment options, like CPAP treatment.
An oral appliance prevents your throat from collapsing by bringing your jaw forward or stops your tongue from curling backward by holding it in place. This can relieve snoring and mild obstructions.
Types of Oral Appliances
Oral appliances are available in a wide variety. If you Google them, you will find hundreds of models of oral appliances that boast of correcting sleep apnea. Unfortunately, most of these appliances are not custom-fitted to your mouth, and hence, are not effective at all. They can often worsen symptoms and lead to other oral issues like sore gums and shifting teeth.
At JP Dental & Implant Center, Dr. John P. Poovey and Dr. Wilcox can help you determine which type of oral appliance is best suited for your particular case. Generally, oral appliances to correct sleep apnea fall into two major categories:
||Mandibular Repositioning Devices: These appliances push your lower jaw forward and down to keep your pharynx from becoming blocked. They are the most commonly used oral appliances.
||Tongue Retaining Devices: These oral appliances prevent your tongue from rolling back towards your throat by holding it in place. This keeps your airways unobstructed.
Making and Fitting Your Oral Appliances
At JP Dental & Implant Center, Dr. John P. Poovey and Dr. Wilcox will first let you know the pros and cons of the treatment. We will first complete an examination of your teeth, jaw, nose, airways, and tongue and may recommend an x-ray.
We will then take digital or physical impressions of your mouth. To take a physical impression, we will place a plaster tray into your mouth to measure and assess your bite. The resulting replica will then be sent to a dental lab so that an oral appliance can be made for you.
Once the appliance is made, you will be called in for a fitting. We will ask you if the appliance is comfortable and tell you how to clean and take care of it so that it lasts you a long time. You may also be scheduled for a sleep study so that we can see whether the treatment is effective.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
Besides treating your sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy has several benefits. These include:
||Ease of use: A lot of patients prefer oral appliances to other treatment options, like breathing devices, because they are easy to wear and remove.
Portable: These devices are very small — just the size of a normal mouthguard — and can be easily placed inside a lady’s purse or a backpack while traveling.
||They also do not produce any uncomfortable noises, unlike CPAP devices.
Potential Side Effects of Oral Appliance Therapy
High-quality, custom-fitted oral appliances need to be adjusted over time for maximum comfort and efficiency. During the treatment period, you may experience slight discomfort, though never pain. In the initial days, oral appliances can feel bulky in your mouth. They may also result in a dry mouth or conversely, excess production of saliva. You may also experience slight soreness in your gums and an ache in your jaw when using them. These side effects can easily be managed by Dr. John P. Poovey and Dr. Wilcox.
Correcting sleep apnea with oral appliances can improve the quality of your life dramatically by helping you get better sleep and improving your mood and overall health.
If you think you have sleep apnea, call us at (970) 822-7622 and we will schedule an appointment for you.