Sleep Apnea is a serious health condition. Some of the symptoms are chronic fatigue, loud snoring, irritability and possible death. Oral sleep appliances help with snoring. When a patient cannot use or tolerate a CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine, an oral appliance made by your dentist, could be used to treat the problem. Patients easily adapt to an oral appliance since it is only inside the mouth and is much less clumber some.
Oral appliances come in many styles and models. The objective of the appliance is to reposition the jaw in such a way as to open the airways while you sleep: resulting in unobstructed passage of air to your lungs. During sleep, the soft palate (located at the end of the hard palate) often falls back blocking the back of the throat therefore making breathing a challenge and snoring can be very loud.
The chose of design of the appliance is based on the severity of the condition, the size of the oral cavity, which is the size of the tongue, width of the arch, position of the teeth. Your dentist will exam these conditions and will design an appropriate appliance.
A sleep study must be done to diagnose the severity of the condition. This requires a prescription from a medical doctor and the study is done at any sleep centers or with a take home machine. After the proper diagnosis, a prescription of the appliance can be made.
At the appointment with the dentist, various records are taken which includes taking molds of your teeth to create a record of your dentition as well as your bite, which is how your teeth fit together when functioning. These records are sent to a laboratory where the appliance is fabricated.
When the appliance is inserted your dentist will verify for fit and comfort. The dentist will also calibrate the appliance to a mean point that fits with your diagnosis. All oral appliances can be titrated. Titration is the ability to change the final bite position once the appliance is seated in order to find the appropriate position to achieve the goal of opening the airway therefore reducing snoring and /or apnea.
A follow up sleep study is sometimes prescribed in order to make sure we have obtained the desired results. Oral sleep appliances have been shown to be easily tolerated by patients and have a high success rate. Their use has played a great role in helping people with their sleep apnea /snoring problem allowing them to have better sleep, have more energy and get over some of the high risks that apnea can present.