Oral Appliance Therapy


Woman talking to dentist during dental examFollowing a sleep apnea diagnosis, treatment is recommended. Treating your sleep apnea is important for improving your sleep quality and your life as a whole. When you are finally able to sleep, you can function at your best. You feel better, physically and mentally. Good sleep is also important for your overall health. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Summit Dental Care can provide treatment with oral appliance therapy.

Oral Appliance Therapy Vs. C-PAP


The C-PAP machine is one of the most frequently prescribed treatments for sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is gaining popularity, however. C-PAP treatment uses air pressure that is delivered through a hose and mask worn over your nose while you sleep. The pressure forces the air through the obstruction that affects your breathing. An oral appliance, on the other hand, is a custom-fitted device that is worn in your mouth while you sleep. It fits over your teeth and is made to reposition your lower jaw forward. By moving the jaw, the obstruction is repositioned so that your airway remains open while you sleep.

Types of Oral Appliances


Mandibular advancement devices, or a MAD, is one of the most common oral appliances used for sleep apnea. This type of device is also called a mandibular advancement splint or mandibular repositioning appliance. Two pieces are connected with a hinge. The two pieces fit over your upper and lower teeth. The hinge forces the lower jaw forward slightly to open the airway.

The other type of oral appliance is called a tongue retaining device. This type of device is used less frequently. It is fairly similar to a mandibular advancement device, except that it has a special compartment that holds your tongue in place. This prevents the tongue from falling back into your throat while you sleep.

Pros and Cons of Oral Appliance Therapy


Oral appliance therapy is a lot easier for many patients. Your movements are not restricted, and you do not have to worry that you might get tangled in the tube. You also will not have to worry about dryness in your nose, which is common with C-PAP. There is no noise. Oral appliances are also much easier to travel with.

One major drawback to an oral appliance is that it can be uncomfortable at first. The appliance is designed to hold your lower jaw a bit more forward than normal, which can cause pain in your jaw. This pain should go away as you get accustomed to your device. If the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Another drawback is that the device can cause you to salivate excessively.

How Do I Know my Oral Appliance is Working?


If your oral appliance is working, you should begin to notice a lessening of your sleep apnea symptoms. The appliance should help you to sleep properly, which means you will not be as sleepy when you wake up. You should have more energy and should be able to focus better on your daily tasks. You may also notice improvements in your mental health as well. If your symptoms begin to return, it is important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

If you are interested in treating your sleep apnea with an oral appliance, contact Summit Dental Care at (208) 490-8141 to schedule your appointment today.


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