dental appliances for sleep apneaIf you’ve recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you might be concerned about your treatment options. Maybe you’re worried about having to wear a bulky CPAP mask while you sleep. Or maybe you’re concerned about the possibility of waking up with a dry nose and throat. If any of these are a concern for you, talk to your dentist about dental appliances for sleep apnea:

How does a dental appliance treat sleep apnea?

In short, it involves wearing a device that resembles a mouth guard while you sleep in order to help maintain an unobstructed airway.  These devices are best suited for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, patients who have failed at using CPAP therapy alone, or patients with failed surgeries such as tonsillectomies or craniofacial surgery.

Dental appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with CPAP treatment in order to help lower the machine’s air pressure requirement, and a lower air pressure potentially means a more comfortable night’s sleep for you.

Types of dental appliances

There are two types of devices, which work in similar ways:

  • A Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) consists of two parts that snap over the dental arches and are held together by small hinges. It works by gently pushing the tongue and mandible forward, which keeps the soft throat tissues from collapsing back into the airway and causing obstruction. If one is prescribed, your dentist can make adjustments to allow for maximum effectiveness during sleep.
  • A Tongue Retaining Mouthpiece looks similar to a MAD, but contains a small compartment that fits around the tongue. This compartment keeps the tongue from collapsing back into the airway. It is better suited for patients unable to have their lower jaw repositioned.

Appliances have a number of benefits over CPAP therapy, including less equipment to travel with, no risk of being entangled in cords or hoses and a greater level of comfort. However, as with any medical issue, consult your doctor to determine the best treatment option for your specific case.

If your doctor has recommended a dental appliance to treat your sleep apnea, we are here to help. Our staff is specially trained to assist with creating and fitting a custom appliance for you. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.