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Sleep Apnea - Oral Appliance Therapy


With several treatment selections for obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy is one of the more useful options with its high patient adherence due to ease of use. Here at Advanced Dental Associates, our dental sleep medicine specialist can help you determine the best therapy to improve your sleep and overall quality of life.

Is Oral Appliance for Me?


An oral appliance is one of the most common therapies used in treating obstructive sleep apnea. Oral Appliance has become increasingly popular because of its ease of use and portability. Though Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is perhaps thought to be more efficient regarding providing immediate results, patients seem to be more inclined to adhere to the Oral Appliance Therapy.

An oral appliance is a device that looks like a mouthguard or a dental retainer, only it is worn during sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, the back of the throat collapses during sleep, preventing airflow to the lungs. The oral appliance (OA) prevents the blocking of the airway. For instance, the oral appliance Mandibular Repositioning Device keeps the airway open by lowering the jaw while another type of oral appliance, the Tongue Retainer holds the tongue in place to prevent it from blocking the throat.

An oral appliance is comfortable, convenient, quiet, portable and low maintenance. For these reasons, patients are more likely to comply with the therapy than others, such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, which causes several patient issues due to its size and noise.

However, not everyone can use an oral appliance. An OA has its limitations and is usually prescribed to patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The effects of the OA also depend on several factors such as sleeping position and body weight. The OA may not be as effective as the CPAP machine which is the standard gold treatment for moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea.

What to Expect When Wearing An Oral Appliance


Possible side effects of using an oral appliance are dry mouth or excessive salivation. Patients could also experience tooth or jaw pain. Bite change is also possible. Close communication with us will be vital for us to manage side effects as you experience them. It is important to note that complications such as a permanent change to your bite or TMJ-like symptoms should be reported to us immediately.

Care for your oral appliance is expected. You should maintain good dental hygiene before putting on the dental appliance each night and carefully follow our instructions for OA care and cleaning.

You should expect that an oral appliance will change your life. Obstructive sleep apnea could be debilitating in the sense that limited sleep can affect your energy levels and mood. When your Oral Appliance can manage your sleep apnea, you will notice a significant change to your health and general disposition from finally achieving restful sleep.

Lastly, Oral Appliances should be custom fit. Over-the-counter OA is not recommended for sleep apnea. Come see us at Advanced Dental Associates or call us at (210) 714-5589 for your sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.
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