Oral appliances are worn in the mouth to treat snoring and Obstructive
Sleep Apnea (OSA). These devices are similar to orthodontic retainers or
sports mouth guards. Oral Appliance Therapy involves the selection,
design, fitting and use of a custom made oral appliance that is worn
during sleep. This appliance then attempts to maintain an opened,
unobstructed airway in the throat. Oral appliances have been approved by
the FDA for treatment of snoring and/or sleep apnea. Oral appliances may
be used alone or in combination with other means of treating OSA. These
means include general health, weight management, surgery or CPAP.
Oral appliances are easy to wear and care for. They are small and
convenient, making them easy to carry when one travels.
Dental Sleep Medicine
Due to the fact patients tend to visit their dentist more often than
their physicians; dentists are in a good position to determine if a
patient suffers from a sleep disorder. By asking a few questions and
examination of the patient’s mouth/jaw, dentists are able to advise a
patient of a potential problem.
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
Diagnosis is based on the results of an overnight sleep study called a
Polysomnogram (PSG). Other factors of determining OSA are patient
evaluation and history.
Good sleep hygiene, weight loss and exercise are some helpful OSA
treatments a patient can practice on their own. However, medical and
dental treatments include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP),
Oral Appliance Therapy and Surgery.
CPAP is the most common method of treatment for opening a collapsed
airway, but may not cooperate well with all patients. These cases are
often successful with oral appliance therapy.