ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY
Sleep apnea is a problem with multiple solutions. One method to treat sleep apnea is to utilize oral appliances. Our team at Amherst Village Dental can provide custom-made oral appliances that will help our patients get a good night’s rest.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where too much tissue in the patient’s throat closes tightly during sleep. This condition causes snoring, and it prevents the patient from entering a state of deep sleep. However, sleep apnea causes more problems than snoring and preventing deep sleep. Sleep apnea can also trigger dry mouth when the person sleeps with an open mouth. This can lead to potential dental problems as bacteria can grow faster in a drier oral cavity. Sleep apnea has three variations: obstructive, central, and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea affects the upper airways. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe during sleep. Mixed sleep apnea involves both obstructive and mixed symptoms. It is worth noting that oral appliances can treat only obstructive sleep apnea; patients with central or mixed sleep apnea are urged to see their primary care doctor immediately.
Treating Sleep Apnea With Oral Appliance Therapy
Mild cases of sleep apnea can be treated with oral appliance therapy. A mandibular advancement device moves the lower jaw forward to help open the airway in the throat, reducing the tightness and allowing the person to get enough oxygen to sleep peacefully. The next oral device is a tongue retainer that keeps the tongue in place to prevent it from slipping backwards and closing the throat. This is particularly suited for those sleeping on their backs or for those who want to spend less money on an appliance.
Benefits Of Using Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is less invasive than CPAP machines due to the reduced amount of equipment involved. Also, the patient’s sleep position does not affect the effectiveness of the oral appliances. Oral appliances are easier to clean and maintain than CPAP machines. Transporting an oral appliance is a far less cumbersome task than moving a CPAP machine. Also, oral appliances are more silent and cost-effective.
Issues To Consider With An Oral Appliance
There are instances where an oral appliance has altered a patient’s bite, causing pain and discomfort, especially in the patient’s temporomandibular joint. Other patients find that oral appliances either fail to prevent dry mouth or actually cause it when the oral appliance is not adjusted properly. Finally, oral appliances are not the best choice for severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy is a budget-friendly alternative to surgery and CPAP machines when it comes to treating sleep apnea. A mandibular advancement device costs around $1900, and the cost covers both the custom mouthguard and the appointments necessary to prepare the custom mouthguard. Tongue retainers are typically cheaper solutions. Insurance providers will typically deem mouthpieces as medically necessary for those diagnosed with sleep apnea.