Oral Appliance Therapy For Sleep Apnea
Expert Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Harvard Medical School estimates that nearly 25% of men and 10% of women in the United States suffer from OSA, the most common type of sleep apnea. People with OSA stop breathing periodically while asleep due to their tongue or other soft tissues collapsing and blocking their airways.
People with OSA experience a reduced amount of air reaching their lungs. Consequently, less oxygen reaches their brain and body. As their bodies become oxygen-deprived, they react by gasping or completely waking up hundreds of times a night in severe cases.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a small, removable appliance to treat sleep apnea and snoring. The oral appliance keeps your airway open during sleep by holding your tongue and supporting your jaw in a forward position.
The oral appliance, similar in size to an orthodontic retainer or athletic mouthguard, must be custom fit to work correctly. Over-the-counter mouthguards are not recommended for sleep apnea therapy because they do not have the needed level of custom fit.
Oral appliances are custom fit by the dentists at Healthy Sleep Midwest, who have had advanced training in treating sleep apnea. A dentist or sleep medicine doctor can fit a custom oral appliance after you have received a diagnosis of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a medical doctor, not a dentist. At Healthy Sleep Midwest, we will help you get tested and evaluated so a physician can get an accurate diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.
If you have not yet had a sleep study but suspect you may have sleep apnea, Healthy Sleep Midwest can assist you in ordering the home sleep apnea testing kit and refer you to a sleep medicine physician.
Types of Oral Appliances
There are two types of oral appliances: mandibular advancement and tongue retaining devices.
- Mandibular advancement devices push your jaw forward to keep your airway open during sleep and are the most frequently used type
- Tongue retaining devices keep your airway open by holding your tongue in place
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
- Reducing your risk for stroke, heart disease, and diabetes
- Increasing your concentration and alertness during the day
- Improving your emotional health
Side Effects of Oral Appliance Therapy
Wearing an oral appliance can cause several minor side effects, including:
- Excess salivation
- Dry mouth
- Temporary discomfort in your teeth or jaw
- Temporary changes to your bite
Some patients may have more complex side effects, including:
- Jaw pain
- Permanent bite changes
- TMJ symptoms
Dentists at Healthy Sleep Midwest will work with your sleep physician to ensure that your oral appliance effectively treats your sleep apnea.