Does Oral Appliance Therapy Work for Sleep Apnea?

Does Oral Appliance Therapy Work for Sleep Apnea?

Apr 01, 2020

If you stop breathing a couple of times when sleeping, you could have sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA affects a majority of people, and it happens when the airways are blocked during sleep. These disruptions can reduce oxygen flow and supply to the heart and other vital organs.

Some people, however, suffer from the Central Sleep Apnea. In CSA, the airways are not obstructed, but rather the brain’s sensory nerves fail to control the breathing muscles due to problems with the respiratory system. Since CSA is related to the Central Nervous System, it cannot be treated or managed using oral appliance therapy.

Sleep apnea affects anyone regardless of age, but it occurs mostly in men than women. Several factors are common in people with OSA, such as excess weight, nasal obstruction, and large neck.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Often, people don’t recognize they have sleep apnea; rather, it’s a close companion who can notice the symptoms. Some of the identifying symptoms include:

  • Snoring
  • Fatigue and daytime sleepiness
  • Dry mouth and sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Sudden awakening with choking

Sleep apnea can cause complications and other health problems such as hypertension, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and the enlargement of the heart muscle tissues.

A proper assessment by a doctor can diagnose the OSA and treatment initiated. Often the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine or CPAP is the recommended treatment. However, it doesn’t work for all people, and the doctor may recommend oral appliance therapy instead.

What is Oral Appliance Therapy?

It is a treatment option that involves the use of a custom-made device to fit your individual needs. When installed correctly, the oral appliance will support the jaw and keep the airway open.

How Does the Oral Appliance Work for OSA?

By supporting the jaw and keeping the airway open, the oral appliance device prevents the tongue from blocking your breathing patterns.

Who Can Get the Oral Appliance?

These dental fixtures are ideal for:

  • Mild to moderate sleep apnea
  • People who have tried the CPAP machine and failed
  • If the sleep apnea surgery treatment is unsuccessful

How Can You Get the Oral Appliance?

Once the doctor diagnoses you with sleep apnea, they will recommend suitable treatment and refer you to a licensed dentist. At All Smiles Dental Care Clinic, we work in collaboration with your doctor to create an appropriate treatment plan.

The initial step in the treatment plan is dental assessment and evaluation. The dentist will take an impression of your teeth to check if you are a candidate for the appliance and send the model to the lab.

A follow-up appointment is set for the fitting of the dental appliance and adjustments made if necessary. Plus, the dentist will give instructions on how to clean the appliances and maintain its durability.

Are There Risks of Using the Oral Appliance?

Yes, a few problems may arise like:

  • Bite changes
  • Mouth dryness or excessive drooling
  • Loose teeth
  • Jaw and teeth pain
  • Luckily these OA side effects can be addressed by the dentist.

How to Care for OA?

It’s essential to care for your oral appliance to extend its lifespan.

  • Store the appliance according to the dentist’s instruction
  • Maintain the device moistened to prevent it from drying out, cracking or discoloring
  • Avoid using toothpaste when cleaning the equipment as it may damage it
  • Have proper oral hygiene care to prevent plaque accumulation. Plus, brush your teeth before wearing the OA
  • You can do motion exercises or chew gum to reduce any stiffness

Final Thoughts

Sleep apnea dental appliance works for mild and moderate OSA. The devices are easy to use and adapt to, but some people may take time to get used to them. Plus, the oral appliances are easy to transport, unlike the CPAP, as they are small to fit in the purses.

Visit All Smiles Dental Care if you have any concerns or questions about oral dental therapy in Hazlet. We will give you the information as well as do a dental assessment, including oral cancer screening.

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