Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is used in patients who have obstructive sleep apnea and controls snoring. The doctors at Covington Family Dental can review this treatment option if you are concerned about your snoring.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that interrupts and restarts breathing several dozen times in a night. People who have this condition frequently wake up feeling tired despite having a good night’s sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea:
||Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this condition and happens when the throat muscles relax.
||Central sleep apnea happens when the brain signals do not reach the muscles that control breathing.
||Complex sleep apnea or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and complex sleep apnea.
How Do You Diagnose Sleep Apnea?
If you are always feeling tired during the day, it could be because of sleep apnea. When you sleep by yourself, it’s hard to tell whether you snore too loudly, or you stop breathing at night, but a partner will usually tell you if he or she is disturbed by this occurrence.
Diagnosing sleep apnea starts with recognizing you have a concern. The most common diagnostic method we use is the one in which you go to a sleep center overnight. You will be hooked to machines that monitor your sleep patterns, heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure.
After we establish the presence of sleep apnea, we can determine your treatment options. Among them, we can treat you with oral appliance therapy.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is used to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It consists of wearing a device (similar to a mouthguard or retainer) in your mouth while you sleep and is less cumbersome than a CPAP machine.
Many patients object or refuse to wear CPAPs because they are uncomfortable and interrupt their sleep as much as the sleep apnea does. Oral appliance therapy is a much more user-friendly device.
This therapy stops the airways from closing at the throat or tongue when you sleep. A custom-made oral appliance holds the tongue or moves the jaw to a forward position. While there are over-the-counter options, we don’t recommend you use those and instead get the one that will fit you.
Types of Oral Appliance Therapy
There are two groups of oral appliances that are mostly used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
||Tongue retaining appliances. This device holds the tongue, so it does not fall to the back of the throat.
||Mandibular repositioning devices. Help to reposition your lower jaw in the forward and down position to help keep the airways open. These are the most common oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea.
If you think you have sleep apnea, it’s crucial to get it diagnosed to establish the type of condition and the appropriate treatment. If you’re a candidate for oral appliance therapy, we can fit you for the device, so you can start seeing the benefits as soon as possible.
For more information about oral appliance therapy, please call Covington Family Dental at 253.499.6155.