Oral Device Therapy

Morning headaches, dry mouth, sleeping during the day, and an inability to stay focused? You might have sleep apnea! What now? Will your doctor recommend one of those loud, and obnoxious CPAP machines? Or are there any other treatment options that aren’t as cumbersome?

There are several treatment options available for sleep apnea: conservative, mechanical, and surgical! The second most common mechanical treatment modality is oral device therapy. These devices are easier to use, easier to carry, and have higher patient compliance than those who use a CPAP machine. Here’s everything you need to know about oral device therapy.

Are Oral Devices Recommended For All Types Of Sleep Apnea?

After reviewing your case history and examining your sleep test results, if you test positive for sleep apnea, you will fall into one of three categories.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Your airway gets temporarily blocked during the night, and your diaphragm and chest muscles work in overdrive to re-establish normal pressure. This is usually witnessed as a jerk or a loud gasp.
  • Central Sleep Apnea – Your airway isn’t blocked per se, but your brain doesn’t receive the necessary impulse to stimulate the chest muscles.
  • Mixed – A combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Oral device therapy is recommended for obstructive sleep apnea, as the soft tissue collapse is usually the cause of the obstruction.

What To Expect During Your First Appointment?

During the first appointment, we will ask you several questions in order to fully understand the extent of your past medical history. These include:

  • Do you have diabetes or conditions prone to excessive dryness?
  • Do you have hypertension or conditions prone to excessive bleeding?
  • Do you have existing pain in your temporomandibular joints?

We will also give you a take-home sleep test. The test is easy to use and can be taken from the comfort of your own bed! The test will monitor you while you sleep and will help us to determine if you have sleep apnea or not, as well as its severity. Once we have your test results, we can develop a comprehensive treatment plan for you.

After establishing that you’re a suitable candidate for oral device therapy, the dentist will take an impression of your mouth, send it over to the lab, and recall you for a second appointment where the appliance will be fitted inside your mouth.

How Do Oral Devices Work?

The name probably gives it away – oral device therapy makes use of an oral appliance that looks somewhat similar to a mouth guard. The device keeps your tongue in place and partially opens your mouth to allow a steady airflow at night.

There are several advantages to oral device therapy:

  • Higher compliance
  • Easier to carry
  • Not noisy
  • Can relieve snoring

What To Expect During Your Second Appointment?

If we have determined that oral device therapy is the right treatment plan for you, we will take an impression of your mouth at your second appointment, ensuring that the device accurately fits your mouth. Once the impression is made, our lab can create a device for you!

Are You Ready To Sleep Better?

At Sleep For Life Atlanta, we are committed to helping our patients sleep better and enjoy life more because when you sleep better, you feel better! Our entire team is dedicated to your health. Give us a call to get started today.