Oral Appliance Therapy
At Northstar Dental, we recommend the use of oral appliance therapy in the treatment of mild sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that is characterized by the prolonged and frequent interruption of sleep due to a lack of sufficient oxygen intake. It is mostly caused by constricting of the airway that results in poor breathing and low oxygen levels. Once the brain recognizes the problem, it triggers the person to waken and breathe more. The wakeful periods can be so brief that many sufferers do not learn about it until a partner informs them.
Oral appliance therapy is a noninvasive treatment that helps to encourage the airway and promote more stable breathing. It involves wearing a removable oral device in the mouth that holds the tongue or pushes down the jaw. These devices must be custom fit to ensure they are comfortable. They are fit in a way similar to that of a mouthguard or retainer.
How Oral Appliances Work
As mentioned, oral appliances are customized to fit the mouth of the user. This requires that an impression be made so that they sit securely in place through the night. Mandibular repositioning appliances are used to push the jaw lower and forward. In this way, the airway is kept open. They are the most common oral appliance therapy devices and require regular checkups to ensure they continue to fit well. This is particularly important with growing children.
Another option is tongue retaining devices. These devices use gentle suction to pull the tongue forward and hold it in place, preventing it from sliding back and constricting the airway. Because of how it works, this device can only be used by a person whose tongue can extend beyond the lips. This device is also helpful to those with enlarged tonsils.
Benefits of Oral Appliances
The key benefit of using these devices is that they are effective. They help improve breathing, and this results in a longer and deeper sleep. When a person is well rested, they have more energy during the day and suffer fewer health problems. There is a reduction in the risk of developing heart problems, hypertension, daytime fatigue, and liver problems.
Oral appliances are also easy to adjust to. Once they are custom made, it does not take long to become accustomed to their presence. This means it is easier to fall asleep and stay under. For anyone who suffers minor side effects like excessive salivation or dry mouth, we can work with you to make the required adjustments to your device for better comfort.
These devices are also more affordable and less bulky than CPAP machines. CPAP devices are a more complicated solution for severe apnea cases. Another important benefit is the comfort of those around you. Your partner will no longer have to worry about you not breathing and suffer disrupted sleep due to your snoring.
Here you will find a team well trained in sleep apnea and ready to help you make a successful recovery. Contact us, Northstar Dental, at (303) 481-3901 at to find out more.