What are oral appliances?
Sleep apnea patients can find relief with sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance, an alternative to CPAP machines, which do not suit everyone. An oral appliance is fabricated by your dentist and is called a manidibular advancement splint. Essentially it is a custom fabricated mouthpiece that moves the lower jaw forward a bit and allows the bit to remain more open. This opens up the airway, often relieving sleep apnea symptoms.
How effective is sleep apnea treatment with oral appliances?
Oral appliances, better known as oral appliance therapy (OAT) is generally very successful in patients that have mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea. OAT has been around in Canada and Europe for some time, however, it is a relatively new sleep apnea treatment in the United States. Sleep apnea treatment with oral appliances is becoming more popular, as it is generally less obtrusive than other treatments.
In many cases, all symptoms are relieved simply wearing the device each night during sleep. The appliance will not impede with normal breathing and often corrects many or all of the symptoms associated with sleep apnea, including snoring and obstructive breathing issues.
Are oral appliances comfortable?
Yes, sleep apnea treatment with oral appliances is very comfortable and convenient. Unlike other treatments, such as CPAP machines, oral appliances are easy to use and do not make any noise. The wearer typically places the appliance in place before sleep and simply removes it when awake. Cleaning the oral dental appliance is easy. You would treat the appliance like any other oral mouth piece, simply cleaning it with warm, soapy water and disinfecting it on occasion. Cleaning it properly is not only healthy, it will extend the life of the appliance.
Another reason patients may choose oral appliance over CPAP machines would be for convenience while traveling. There are no heavy machines to lug on trips with an oral appliance.