oral therapy applianceBy Jaime O’Neill DDS

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are common issues that can – and do – impact quality of life. While snoring is mostly a nuisance to bedmates, sleep apnea can cause serious health issues. They include high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, adult asthma and acid reflux. Additionally, the condition is dangerous for drivers who, because of their poor sleeping habits, can fall asleep at the wheel.

Although the most common method of dealing with sleep apnea is the CPAP machine [continuous positive airway pressure], the device requires the use of a mask that is attached to a hose that connects to the machine. Although a proven remedy for sleep apnea, the mask can be cumbersome and uncomfortable, and the machine is noisy.

More recently, oral appliance therapy has given snoring and sleep apnea sufferers a viable alternative to the CPAP machine. The therapy involves making a custom-fit oral appliance – similar to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard – that is worn at night. The appliance helps keep the jaw in a forward position, which opens the upper airway. This allows for normal breathing while sleeping, eliminating snoring and sleep apnea.

There are a number of pluses for choosing an oral appliance over a CPAP machine to cure your snoring and sleep apnea woes. They include:
-easy to wear
-easy to care for

If you – and your physician – decide oral appliance therapy is right for you we would suggest scheduling an appointment with us for a clinical evaluation. This includes a complete examination of your teeth, jaw, tongue and airway. We would then schedule you for a second appointment, during which we would take models of your teeth. The models are sent to a dental lab, where your appliance is made. Once we receive your appliance from the lab you’ll return for a fitting, during which we’ll adjust your appliance to make sure it fits properly and is comfortable.

We suggest you bring your oral appliance with you when you return for your six-month check-ups. At that time, we can make any necessary adjustments and make sure your appliance is working properly.