Oral Appliance Therapy
Dallas / Fort Worth, TX
We at Beyond Dental and Implant Center offer oral appliance therapy to our patients who may be suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea. It’s a much more comfortable alternative to a CPAP machine.
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder. It manifests itself by causing breathing difficulties with breathing when sleeping at night. The patient is likely to have difficulty sleeping as a result. Causes of sleep apnea range from having a large tongue to excess weight.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common category of sleep-disordered breathing. When we start to doze off, we lose muscle tone. The muscles relax, and the lower jaw falls back. The tongue then pushes to the back of the throat into the airway, which is composed of collapsible walls of soft tissues. When they collapse, they obstruct the windpipe. The partial blockage will cause snoring. Complete blockage results in obstructive sleep apnea.
Until now, the only three real methods of treatment for sleep apnea were CPAP treatments, corrective oral surgery or nightguards and mouthguards (which are typically used to treat patients with TMJ). CPAP is a ventilator system with a mask that fits over your face. It continuously increases air pressure to keep the airway open while you sleep. The problem is only 50-60% of people who try this can tolerate it. Most people that come to us would rather avoid surgery if possible, preferring to keep their treatment noninvasive.
Then there’s the advanced mandibular device. It’s a small custom-made oral appliance resembling a retainer. It fits over the teeth and keeps the jaw from falling to the back of the throat during sleep when muscle tone starts to decrease, thereby maintaining an open airway.
It’s a far simpler alternative to CPAP. We will often recommend the oral appliance to patients that have mild to moderate sleep apnea. Most people prefer it to CPAP. We can also sometimes even use it in more severe cases in patients that are intolerant to CPAP.
There are signs we can look for that will be indicative of sleep apnea. If your tongue is positioned too far back into the oral airway, it will cause blockage during sleep. A coating on the back of your tongue is a symptom of a breathing disorder. A dry mouth shows inadequate lubrication. An elongated, soft palate or uvula and scalloping or little ridges against the sides of the tongue will be a red flag for us.
One of the clearest indicators, however, is waking up regularly during the night. This can lead to sleeplessness, and this can lead to difficulty performing at work, and your social/personal life can also be affected. Loud snoring is another symptom, and this can be difficult for the partners of a patient with sleep apnea.
Our team has a great deal of experience in helping to treat sleep apnea. Many of our patients find that they sleep better and for longer after visiting us. As we indicated, this is a custom-made piece. We make it here to fit you precisely. It is easy to put in, easy to wear, painless.
If you want more information, please feel free to contact Beyond Dental and Implant Center at (972) 591-7520 any time.