Oral Appliance Therapy
We, at Advanced Family Dentistry, are experts in Oral Appliance Therapy. It is a non-surgical intervention for obstructive sleep apnea. It uses dental devices that are similar to mouthguards. These devices are portable, and you do not even need to remove them to drink water or talk.
How Does Oral Appliance Therapy Work?
If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis, that means the muscles around your throat and tongue excessively relax when you sleep. That causes the blocking of airflow to your lungs. In layman’s terms, the doorway to your lungs is getting shut. In order to keep the passage open, you can either remove the door (surgery), keep the door open by blowing air through the doorway (CPAP) or, use a doorstop to keep the doorway open (OAT).
The point is, OAT devices work more like a doorstop. They ensure airflow to your lungs by keeping the airway open as you sleep. The other two treatment options for sleep apnea are surgery and CPAP. Surgery, to most people, is a highly invasive treatment option. Therefore, OAT becomes a great option if CPAP is not working or you find the CPAP therapy intolerable due to its bulkiness and noise.
Are There Options For Oral Appliance Therapy Devices?
At our office, your options for OAT devices are tongue retaining appliances or mandibular advancement devices (MAD). MADs are the best option in most sleep apnea cases. MADs resemble mouthguards – the ones used by sportspeople to protect their teeth and tongue against impact. The hinge between the upper and lower arches allow the device to push your lower jaw forward and downward slightly. That slight adjustment of the lower jaw is what keeps your airway open during sleep.
A tongue retaining appliance is a small device that resembles a splint. As the name suggests, this device works by holding your tongue in a fixed position to prevent it from blocking your airway.
Where Can You Get An Oral Appliance Therapy Device?
Our dentists and orthodontists are OAT specialists and experts in fitting OAT devices. Unlike other sleep dentistry practitioners, we design and customize OAT devices at our lab. Why is that important? An oral appliance will only optimally function if fitted explicitly for you. Of course, you can get an OAT device from a chemist. However, such devices use a pre-determined sizing system that does not account for the distinctiveness of your bite and teeth.
Will OAT Work For You?
Before we even start OAT treatment, first we must determine it is the best option for you. We determine the best treatment option for you by looking at factors such as the severity of the condition, the structure of your airway, underlying medical conditions, and lastly personal preference. To do that, on your first visit, we will conduct a thorough clinical examination of your mouth and a sleep study.
In our experience, OAT is useful in cases of mild-to-moderate sleep apnea. Moreover, it is the next best option if we determine CPAP will not work for you. CPAP is likely to be inconvenient if you sleep on your back or stomach. With an oral appliance, sleeping on your back or stomach will not be an issue.
To find out if you are a good candidate for OAT, get in touch with our team. Call us at Advanced Family Dentistry at (765) 287-5338 to find out more.