When you hear the term “dental device,” it might bring to mind things like dentures, orthodontic appliances or even mouth guards that prevent nighttime teeth grinding. One lesser-known type of dental device is an oral appliance that’s used to manage symptoms of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a treatment called oral appliance therapy.
Here’s an overview from the dental sleep specialist at eos dental sleep about what a dental device for sleep apnea is, how it works, and why it’s a good option for patients suffering from snoring or OSA.
How does a dental device for sleep apnea work?
A good way to envision how a dental device for sleep apnea works is to picture a soft, flexible mouth guard, like one you might wear while playing contact sports. Appearance-wise, this isn’t too far off of what an oral appliance for sleep apnea looks like, though the devices have some more technical features built in than the average mouth guard. Dental devices for sleep apnea are custom-made and fabricated based on mouth and bite impressions taken by a dental sleep specialist.
They work by repositioning the jaw and/or tongue in order to enlarge the airway and help prevent obstruction from occurring during sleep. The tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat are two of the most common sources of airway obstruction leading to snoring and sleep apnea. By stabilizing these tissues and repositioning the tongue to be more forward in the mouth, you effectively create more space in the back of the throat for air to enter and exit.
Who is a good candidate for oral appliance therapy?
If you are someone who has a chronic snoring problem or mild to moderate sleep apnea, you may be a good candidate for oral appliance therapy using a dental device. Since each person’s snoring and sleep apnea condition is unique, treatment must address the underlying cause or causes of your individual condition in order to be effective. A dental device for sleep apnea or snoring typically works best for patients whose airway obstruction is caused by the tongue and/or a narrow airway. The best way to pinpoint what’s causing your condition is to get evaluated by a sleep specialist.
A dental device for sleep apnea may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments for sleep-related breathing disorders, such as CPAP therapy, weight management or even surgery.
What are the advantages of using a dental device for sleep apnea?
There are numerous advantages to using this treatment option. Here are some of the key reasons to choose a dental device for sleep apnea treatment:
- Non-invasive – requires no surgery or intensive treatment plan – from initial consultation to follow-up appointments, the whole experience is quite simple
- No more CPAP – oral appliance therapy allows you to break free from the CPAP mask and all of its unpleasant side effects
- Quick adjustment period – most patients become accustomed to the device within the first week or two of using it
- Easy to use & travel with – the device is simple to use (worn just like a mouth guard) and because of its small size and design, it is easy to travel with, as opposed to bulky CPAP machines with multiple components
Looking for a dental device for sleep apnea in Philadelphia?
If you are considering a dental device for sleep apnea or snoring in the Philadelphia area, or perhaps you want to find out whether you are a candidate for this treatment option, eos dental sleep is here to help. At our centrally-located office in Center City, Philadelphia, patients can receive expert care and treatment. Don’t spend another sleepless night dealing with snoring and sleep apnea. Fill out the schedule appointment form on this page or contact us today to learn about the small dental device that can make a big difference in your quality of sleep and your quality of life.