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  • Dr. Bryant Anderson

Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Getting treatment for your snoring or sleep apnea can be life changing.


Imagine waking up feeling rested and refreshed instead of exhausted. Imagine being able to focus and living without brain fog. Imagine not waking up to your spouse elbowing you to get you to stop snoring.


If you’re looking for a safe, affordable, comfortable way to reduce your sleep apnea symptoms in Winter Park, FL,  an oral appliance for sleep apnea may be the perfect solution!


oral appliance for sleep apena

SLEEP APNEA SYMPTOMS AND HEALTH RISKS

Untreated sleep apnea puts a significant strain on the body. Studies show that moderate to severe sleep apnea directly and significantly increases your mortality risk. 


Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke among other serious health issues.


Take a look at our previous post for more details about the signs, symptoms, and risks associated with sleep apnea.


Sleep apnea can also cause personality changes due to chronic sleep deprivation. 


HOW CAN AN ORAL APPLIANCE HELP MY SLEEP APNEA?

To understand how a sleep apnea appliance works, it’s helpful to understand how sleep apnea happens.


As the muscles of the mouth, jaw, and upper throat relax during sleep, some of these structures can obstruct the free flow of air into the lungs. Specifically, the back of the tongue slides backward and into the throat, blocking the airway.


The muscles of the tongue attach to the underside of the jawbone. So where the jawbone goes, the tongue follows. 


Oral appliances for sleep apnea work by positioning the jaw, thereby keeping the tongue from blocking the throat. 


Our expert team at Anderson Family Dental has advanced training in the best techniques to craft custom appliances that draw the jawbone forward and hold it comfortably in position while you sleep.


AM I A CANDIDATE FOR A SLEEP APNEA APPLIANCE?

Oral appliances for sleep apnea are ideal for patients who:

  • Have talked to a physician and confirmed that they have obstructive sleep apnea and not another type.

  • Can’t tolerate a CPAP, even though they’ve given themselves plenty of time to adjust.

  • Need a portable option to reduce their sleep apnea symptoms during travel.

  • Have a CPAP but aren’t getting the results they want.

  • Have mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring.

  • Can tolerate wearing the appliance, which fits over the teeth like an orthodontic retainer, while they sleep.

This approach won’t help if you have central sleep apnea, which is caused when the brain doesn’t send the signals for breathing while you sleep. 


CAN I USE AN ORAL APPLIANCE AND A CPAP AT THE SAME TIME?

Yes! Combining ideal jaw positioning with positive airway pressure devices (CPAP machines) may give you even better results than a CPAP alone.


With the airway held open, you may be able to get the benefits you need with your CPAP on a lower setting, which can be more comfortable and make your machine more tolerable.


If you use a nasal CPAP, we can create an oral appliance to use with it as a combined therapy. 

Your appliance also gives you a portable option to take with you when you travel while retaining your CPAP as the main therapy you use at home.


If you need a CPAP with a full face mask that covers your nose and mouth, an oral appliance isn’t right for you, although it may be worth considering NightLase®!


PROS AND CONS FOR SLEEP APNEA APPLIANCE

PROS: 

  • Easy to use. No hoses, masks, or power supply needed.

  • Easy to clean. A quick rinse every morning, a gentle wipe-down with mild dish soap, and an occasional soak in diluted vinegar will keep your appliance clean and fresh.

  • Comfortable. Because we will create your appliance custom for your teeth using precision techniques, most patients find it very comfortable to wear every night.

  • Portable. As we mentioned above, an oral appliance is easy to take with you on overnight trips.

  • Won’t cause claustrophobia or limit your sleeping position. Because a CPAP requires you to stay in one position while you sleep, it can make some patients feel anxious or cause physical discomfort if you can’t shift your position at night.

  • Affordable. Oral appliances cost less than a CPAP machine in most cases.

CONS:

  •  Can cause jaw strain in some patients. If you already struggle with TMJ disorder, we’ll need to carefully evaluate the joints to be sure the appliance won’t make things worse. (However, many people with sleep apnea develop TMJ problems because they grind their teeth when their airway becomes blocked. So it may help to relieve jaw pain in some cases!)

  • Not effective for every type of sleep apnea. 

  • As mentioned above, central sleep apnea is a neurological condition that won’t improve with mechanical treatments like an appliance. 

  • If you have severe sleep apnea, an oral appliance may have limited effects. But if you can’t tolerate a CPAP, an oral appliance may give you some benefit. It’s better than leaving your condition completely untreated!

  • May lead to dry mouth. Some patients breathe through their mouth when they wear a sleep apnea oral appliance, which can lead to uncomfortable dry mouth issues.


DON'T WASTE ANOTHER NIGHT ON BAD SLEEP

Drs. Bryant and Kathleen Anderson have made it our mission to help you enjoy a better quality of life with comprehensive care to address every aspect of your wellbeing. 


Our ongoing pursuit of advanced training allows us to stay at the forefront of improvements in dental therapy that can improve our patients’ lives. That’s why our practice is constantly evolving to incorporate the most updated and effective treatments for issues like sleep apnea.


Ready to start enjoying more restorative sleep? Call us to schedule your consultation for a sleep apnea appliance consultation in Winter Park, FL!




 

Dr. Bryant Anderson, DMD

Dr. Anderson also completed a Mastery program in Dental Sleep Medicine where he gained invaluable knowledge in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. He maintains membership in many dental organizations and has received his fellowship in the International Congress of Oral Implantology and his fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry. READ MORE

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