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What Is An Oral Appliance For Sleep Apnea?

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There are a variety of treatment options to explore with your doctor if you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea — a condition in which relaxation of the muscles around the tongue and throat allows the tissues to block airflow to the lungs while you sleep. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and dental appliances, or mouth guards, are two of the most commonly used and most effective.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)

CPAP, the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, blasts air down your throat at night with constant pressure to hold your airways open while you are sleeping. The procedure is carried out by means of a CPAP machine consisting of three main parts:

  • Mask that fits over your nose — or your nose and mouth — and is held in place with straps while you sleep

  • Motor that blows air

  • Large tube called a cannula that connects the motor to the mask

Tiny, lightweight, and reasonably quiet CPAP machines. You can take your CPAP with you if you drive. CPAP benefits include keeping your airways open while you are sleeping, easing snoring, improving the quality of sleep, relieving sleepiness during the day, and decreasing blood pressure. Although you will probably feel more rested and alert once you start CPAP, it will take some time to get used to the system. Some people have trouble sleeping for the first few nights of therapy.

How does oral appliance therapy work to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Dental appliances or oral mandibular advancement devices that prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and/or advancing the lower jaw forward can be made for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. During sleep, these devices help keep the airway open. For this reason, a sleep specialist and a dentist with experience in oral appliances can jointly decide if this therapy is best for you.

How do I order an oral appliance for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

You would need a referral to an appropriate dentist to get an examination if you and your doctor feel that an oral device is a good choice. If you are a candidate for this procedure, the dentist will determine and give you an image of your teeth. The dentist is going to make the appliance and call you in for a fitting. After the apparatus is removed, you will also be given a morning repositioner to realign your bite. He or she can also provide you with guidance about how to use the appliance and clean it. For more personalized changes to maximize treatment, you may even have to go back to the dentist. Once treatment is over, it is recommended that you have another sleep test to see if the system performs for you. It can need further changes.

What are the risks of oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

The risks of oral appliance therapy include:

  • Bite changes

  • Pain in the jaw, teeth, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain

  • Loose teeth

  • A need for dental work replacement

  • Excessive drooling

  • Mouth dryness

What are the benefits of oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Oral appliance therapy:

  • Can improve symptoms of OSA, including daytime sleepiness, moodiness, concentration issues and reduce or eliminate snoring.

  • Offers another option for people who cannot tolerate CPAP

  • Is easier to take along when traveling

  • Works without electricity

  • Is quiet

Are You Looking for a Sleep Apnea Specialist You Can Trust?

With over 30 years of professional experience helping patients renew and beautifying their smiles, Balfour Dental continues to be the preferred dental office for families in Brentwood California and the surrounding communities of Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay and beyond. Dr. Rayani and Dr. Siao both have many different certifications, including Invisalign Certification, Implant Dentistry, Sleep Apnea Treatment, Cerec CAD-CAM Restorations, Neuromuscular Dentistry, and Implants respectively. Our dental office is locally owned and operated by Dr. Dimple Rayani and Dr. Sien Siao, two professionals with vast experience in Implant Retained Denture treatments as well as in general dentistry.  If you are looking to renew your smile, contact Balfour Dental today!

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